Howzit Howard: tax collections and construction permits - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Howzit Howard: tax collections and construction permits

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Economists have their own reasons for tracking dozens of metrics in these reports, but two of the most telling signs of economic health are tax collections and applications for construction permits. Oahu is the only island in the state with hotel taxes, excise taxes and building permits all above last year. Neighbor island tax collections remain below year-ago levels. When unemployment falls, then look for revenue to rise.

Oahu home sales are picking up smartly, but every neighborhood is its own story. So which neighborhoods are seeing the most sales? Most of the home sales last month were on the Ewa plain or in Kaneohe-Kailua. But there were smaller hot spots on Waialae Iki Ridge and in Hawaii Kai.

HMSA, the state's largest health insurer, has been quietly negotiating with hospitals, offering more payment for positive health outcomes. It now has an agreement for such a payment system with Queen's, the largest private hospital in the state. The old system, paying fees for services rendered, is thought to have created economic incentive to order more drugs, more tests, more operations.

The public utilities commission has A-Okayed a two-year contract for an Iowa company to supply millions of gallons of renewable biodiesel to Hawaiian Electric.

The Molokai irrigation system is down to 19 feet in the past week, a three percent decline. Mandatory 20 percent reduction in use remains in effect for non-homesteaders. But the Waimanalo irrigation system filled up 10 percent in recent days and even the Big Island's Waimea irrigation system showed improvement.

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