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Letters to the editor


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POSTED: Sunday, May 31, 2009

Raise taxes to fix budget shortfall

Is Gov. Linda Lingle so myopic she can only focus on state workers to make up for the $180 million budget shortfall? Instead, she could ask the Legislature to:

1) Create higher-income tax bracket for the less-than 3 percent of Hawaii's population that make over $250,000 for individuals and $400,000 for couples; they can readily afford it. 2) Increase the hotel room tax by another percent. Even at 9.25 percent in 2010, it's still way below what states like California charge—14 percent—and people do not determine their vacation plans on hotel room taxes. 3) Get rid of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Its function is already covered by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Internet. 4) Get rid of Act 221, that is draining the state with little, if anything, to show for it.

Liana Petranek

Hauula

Private sector contributes more to the economy

I am writing in response to the individual who stated that the economy will suffer if the state's employees share in the current economic downturn through wage cutbacks or furloughs (Letters, Star-Bulletin, May 26).

Remember that the private sector, not the public sector, funds the government. Public employees contribute minimally to the economy, especially after factoring in wages and benefits. Therefore, the money the public sector will or will not spend in the economy comes from the private sector. The private sector is currently taxed at a rate that has halted the growth of any new business.

The future is certainly not showing improvement soon. I believe that everybody needs to cut back and assist in solving the problem, not just the private sector. I support the governor in her search for answers and her pursuit of cuts at all levels of government. How much has the number of government employees grown over the last six years when the economy was good? Maybe it's time to reduce to the levels we were at six years ago.

Larry Wilson

Aiea

Education cuts will hurt where funds needed most

Depending on where a teacher is on the pay scale, Gov. Linda Lingle's cuts could translate into a pay cut of up to $13,873 over the next two years. In addition, these very same teachers would also be facing an 18 percent increase in health care premiums.

The Department of Education spent over $20 million a year to train and recruit teachers to come to Hawaii with over 60 percent leaving in the first three years because the cost of living is so high. With results like this, why would someone move all the way to Hawaii (or even come home to Hawaii) to teach in light of Lingle's plan?

Cutting education when it is already underfunded is akin to pulling out the shoots of the youngest plants before they have time to develop and grow strong.

Justin Hughey

Lahaina

Cigarette butts on beach are ruining Hawaii's image

Given that Hawaii's draw card is its natural beauty, it's disgraceful how you tolerate cigarette butts on your beaches.

On Waikiki Beach we had to sit on cigarette butts. The beach vendors worked with cigarettes hanging from their mouths. At sunset there was nowhere to stand on the beach without having to inhale second-hand smoke.

Hawaii's oceanic beauty is unsurpassed by any place on the mainland. Protection perhaps should be overseen by some federal authority, because the Hawaii government has been incapable of doing the job.

Robyn Scheuffele

San Diego

               

     

 

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