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For Thursday, September 9, 2010

By Star-Advertiser staff


State forecasts steady revenue growth

Hawaii's general fund should see a small increase this year, with steady 6 percent growth over most of the next decade, according to the latest projection yesterday from the state Council on Revenues.

Preliminary calculations predict revenue growth of 2 percent in the current 2011 fiscal year, which began July 1. The council sees growth of 10 percent in the 2012 fiscal year, and 6 percent from 2013 through 2017.

The council previously projected 6.2 percent for this fiscal year, but that's because it included the delayed payouts of individual tax refunds. Council Chairman Paul Brewbaker said the projection is the same once the delay is factored out.

"The underlying expectation of economic recovery seems to be playing out as we expected," Brewbaker said. "The re-acceleration of the economy locally has occurred."

State Rep. Marcus Oshiro, chairman of the House Finance Committee, said tourism numbers support the council's optimistic projection, but said it's "not time to pop open the champagne yet" and that the Legislature has been cautious in its funding.

Coffee pest found on Kona farms

State agriculture officials say the coffee berry borer, a devastating coffee pest, has been found in several farms in Kona.

The borer, Hypothenemus hampei, is a small beetle and is native to central Africa.

Officials said the beetle bores into the coffee bean to lay its eggs, and because the larvae are inside, it makes it difficult to control by pesticides.

Staff from the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources collected the beetles from several farms in Kona and dropped off samples to the state Department of Agriculture on Sept. 2. University and department staff are working on control methods.

"It appears that this pest has been here for several years and may be well established in some growing areas in South Kona," said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, state Board of Agriculture chairwoman.

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