Letters to the Editor

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Founder of new isle airline has vision

I see where the founder of Lion Coffee, James Delano, is starting up a new interisland airline (Star-Bulletin, March 17). Delano may be crazy, given the history of "third" interisland carriers in Hawaii. But who would have predicted that he would turn a coffee called Lion into Hawaii's top brand? I admire his vision and courage.

Hawaii needs a new interisland airline and more entrepreneurs like Delano. I hope he succeeds once again.

Gina Catone

Income tax credit is better way to help poor

The Star-Bulletin's March 21 article on Senate Bill 475 (raising welfare payments) ignored better options for helping Hawaii's neediest families. While the goal of helping the poor is laudable, simply handing out unlimited amounts of welfare payments is not the answer.

An Earned Income Tax Credit would be a better solution. The EITC is designed to provide a refundable tax credit to the working poor. Rather than simply giving more money to families on welfare, the EITC rewards low-income residents who have jobs. In so doing, the EITC provides a strong incentive for the poor to work themselves out of poverty.

The difference between the two approaches is striking. Welfare payments create an incentive not to work by penalizing recipients who earn income. The EITC rewards employment by giving money to those who have jobs.

There are two EITC bills (House Bill 957 and Senate Bill 1410) moving through the Legislature. As long as substantive technical problems are corrected in committee, passage of the EITC will help low-income families while preserving the dignity of employment.

Nolan Y. Kido

Poor pay, conditions wear down teachers

As a mother of two students, I am concerned about the lack of qualified teachers in Hawaii. A qualified teacher is someone who displays a sincere interest and passion for teaching. Qualified teachers recognize the needs of students and are able to motivate all to achieve their potential. I have not met many teachers of this caliber. Why? Could it be that society does not value teachers? To attract qualified teachers, we need to recognize these educators and support an increase in teachers' salaries.

It is quite disheartening for teachers when they do not feel valued. Overcrowded classrooms and an increase in student/teacher ratio have intensified. Teachers are expected to do more without adequate compensation. As a result, many teachers have lost their motivation to provide the quality education needed to develop our future leaders.

What can we do about this? We can voice our concerns to our representatives and encourage an increase in funding for teachers' salaries and education. Hopefully, our government will hear our voices and make the necessary sacrifices. Taking care of our teachers and placing a high value on quality education will promote a better world for years to come.

Kanani Alos

Lawmakers should work on housing costs

Having watched real estate prices triple and quadruple in the last year in Puna, one wonders where are elected leaders in all of this?

If the prices of other basic commodities, say gas and milk, had also tripled in the last year, there would have been major investigations and price controls would have been enacted.

Is not affordable housing just as important? Why should long-time residents of this state who are prospective first-time homeowners be penalized because of both mainland and local real estate speculators and investors?

I feel it is morally and ethically wrong and I wonder where my elected leaders are. Maybe cashing in on the land boom themselves?

William Kester
Pahoa, Hawaii

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