Some exempt from hotel tax
HONOLULU- A Hawaii judge is ruling companies that sell Hawaii hotel rooms to travelers online don't have to pay the state's hotel room tax.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Circuit Judge Gary Won Bae Chang said Monday the state Legislature didn't intend the tax to apply to online travel companies when they enacted the transient accommodations tax law.
The state Department of Taxation issued the companies tax bills totaling nearly $700 million for failing to pay the hotel room tax from 1999 to the end of last year.
The online travel companies - including Expedia, Hotwire, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity - appealed their tax assessments to state court.
The state says the companies also owe millions in unpaid general excise tax. Chang will hear arguments on this in December.
Company recalling ground beef
HONOLULU - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a Honolulu company is recalling more than 4,000 pounds of ground beef products distributed to Oahu restaurants because the products may be contaminated with E. coli.
The department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Monday that Higa Meat & Pork Market is recalling 10 pound bags of "Higa Market-Ground Beef Bulk."
The products were produced last Wednesday and distributed to restaurants on Oahu.
Each case is marked with the establishment number "EST. 12457M" inside the USDA mark of inspection. It also features an identifying case code number "291."
The service and the company haven't received any reports of anyone getting sick because they ate the beef.
E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and kidney failure.