Say showed no concern for struggling families
I was really offended by the patronizing tone of House Speaker Calvin Say's remarks at the opening day of the Legislature
. First, he trivialized the governor's proposed $300 million in tax relief as the equivalent of few plate lunches. Later in his remarks he endorsed the concept of public-private partnerships in the area of affordable housing as one reason to forego tax relief altogether.
Here's where I have trouble with these two points. Speaker Say fails to see that government involvement in anything almost always drives up the cost. There's no reason to expect his vision for affordable housing will be different. Will that really solve the housing problem? Will that be good for our economy or social structure? Will that lead to higher taxes to subsidize the affordable housing?
What Say didn't mention is that tax relief would return money to our young families, giving them more to spend on housing. And if $300 million is really just chump change to Say, why doesn't he suggest returning the entire $600 million surplus? That would really help our young families struggling to get started in our housing market.
Say wants local parents to be able to say to their children, "You don't have to leave the islands to have a prosperous future." Is he willing to add, "Or to own a home?"
Robert R. Kessler
City, state should follow back-to-basics budget
How about this kind of budget for both the state and city?
No raises for politicians until an annual budget for the following is achieved so they know what they have to work with and can plan accordingly:
» Lower the tax rate so families only need one job and have the necessary time to raise their children as they should be raised.
» 20 percent for school upkeep and maintenance.
» 20 percent for teacher raises.
» 30 percent raises for essential service employees (police, fire and medical).
» 20 percent for city and state infrastructure upkeep and maintenance.
» 10 percent for emergencies, such as terrorism, hurricane, invasion and North Korea.
Iwase's entry into race is a welcome event
I welcome former state Sen. Randy Iwase's
press conference which was attended by the ILWU rank and file, his family, friends, state party chairman Brickwood Galuteria and Rep. Neil Abercrombie.
With a possible entry by Mayor Harry Kim, and one other hopeful with a different constituency, this primary will be complete for the majority party. A matter to be addressed as an after thought now is the very important position of lieutenant governor candidates. Many who passed on the governorship or are currently considering a run for U.S. House should consider throwing in his or her headgear in this statewide race now while the iron is hot.
A strong and vigorous candidate who can serve eight years as lieutenant governor and eight more as governor would be ideal. But what is critical is the job seeker must be someone who can take the helm of the Ship of State as Gov. George Ariyoshi did once upon a time in the mid-'70s and early '80s. Once again, congratulations to Iwase for his timely and much awaited decision.
Arvid T. Youngquist
Promised care for vets should be delivered
This past week the Class Act Group closed shop after 10 years of lobbying Congress for full medical coverage for life for military retirees. In statements made to the public they summed up their efforts as a good fight but ultimately they've become frustrated.
During the last decade, Congress has given them some attention but veterans continue to lose ground. Recent efforts to triple annual Tricare premiums is likely to renew the debate but other motivated veteran groups will have to continue the fight.
This is not a Bush-bashing commentary, but it has become clear that someone needs to get hold of Donald Rumsfeld and show him how we can fight a war, reorganize or transform the military and simultaneously maintain the benefits to our older warriors. As Governor Lingle stated to Hawaii's citizens concerning tax cuts, "We can have it all."
Ask any military officer what to cut and he or she will rattle off a hundred cost-reducing measures within seconds. So let's cut the fat and return to veterans the promises made.
Base property tax on purchase price
If Mayor Hannemann and the City Council want a fair property tax for everyone, then instead of trying to figure out which formula to use
, they should go by the purchase price the homeowner paid for the property at the time of closing. You can't get any more fair than that.