State briefs for January 12

Hawaii’s tax revenue projection adjusted for slower growth

HONOLULU — Hawaii officials have scaled back the state’s tax revenue projection.

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The state Council on Revenues voted to reduce its projection of growth in state tax collections this year from 5 to 4.2 percent.

The reduction means the state might have $55 million less to spend than expected.

The council, made up of economists and other experts, predicts how much the state will collect in taxes each year. Its projections inform the budgeting process for the state.

Gov. David Ige’s administration expects to have a $643 million surplus when the fiscal year ends in June, so officials don’t expect the revenue projection to have a major impact.

“I think it’s a picture of continued growth, but slowing growth,” said Carl Bonham, economics professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Economic growth could be downshifting in Hawaii, as indicators show the real estate and mortgage markets slowing, said Kristi Maynard, a council member.

“There are some signs that things are not going full speed ahead,” Maynard said. “I think there are more signs of caution now.”

The council did not make adjustments in the projections for the next six years, when state tax collections are expected to grow by 4 percent each year.

The governor has proposed a state general treasury budget of nearly $8.2 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1. More than $8.4 billion has been proposed for the next year.

Crosswalk removed near site of Oahu pedestrian death

HONOLULU — Honolulu mistakenly covered up a crosswalk near the site where an 86-year-old pedestrian was hit by a car, according to officials in an Oahu neighborhood.

Maqbul ur-Rahman died after he was hit by a 24-year-old driver while crossing Hawaii Kai Drive on Monday, police said.

The 86-year-old was not in a marked crosswalk, said police Sgt. Nathan Hee. The nearest one was more than 200 feet away, he said.

Rahman suffered injuries to his head, legs and arms. He later died at a hospital, police said.

The crossing site in Hawaii Kai had overhanging tree branches that cast a shadow, so street lighting was possibly a factor in the crash, Hee said.

Had the former crosswalk still been in place, there would have been “at least a chance that he would have used it,” said Greg Knudsen, a member of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board.

A city spokesman declined to comment.

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State Rep. Gene Ward wrote Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Tuesday asking for the crosswalk to be reinstated. Ward said his constituents were told an environmental impact statement must be completed before the crosswalk is put back, then they were told it wasn’t needed. Now, they’re being told it will take two years to put in a crosswalk that complies with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, he said.

“Let’s not allow bureaucratic red tape to get in the way of human life,” Ward wrote to the mayor. “Let’s not allow government inefficiency to cause another preventable death.”

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