Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tap legislators for furlough pay

Faced with the worst economic climate in generations and an unprecedented budget deficit, returning the equivalent of our state legislators' pay — three furlough days' pay — is simply the right thing to do.

If state employees are going to be asked to help be part of the solution, elected officials should share in that responsibility by returning a portion of their salaries as well.

Robert Reed


The real hardship? Losing one's job

Regarding your article “;Workers say reducing hours will be painful”; (Star-Bulletin, June 2): I see words like “;stressful,”; “;hardship,”; “;strain,”; “;targeted.”;

These are words those of us in the private sector have been using for the last year as the economy tanked and hundreds of thousands of workers across the country lost their jobs or faced cuts in pay or hours.

But here in Hawaii our government workers have been spared while the rest of us felt the pain. It's now time for them to step up and share that pain.

None of us can afford a raise in taxes; too many of us are just barely scraping by. My employer, like so many others across the state, has made painful decisions that have hit the pocketbooks of all of us; why should the workers that we taxpayers support not have to do the same?

Let me reiterate, I understand the stress, the hardship, the strain. No, I'm not facing a 13.8 percent pay cut. In my case, I was laid off.

My “;pay cut”; was 100 percent.

Meredith Prock


Budget plan unfair to state workers

So this is how we do it, eh, governor?

With well over half a million taxpayers in Hawaii, we are going to have less than 10 percent of them — state workers — pay for our current budget woes.

Not the rich folks. They don't work for the state.

Not the private schools. Just the public ones.

What happened to everyone working together to get through the hard times? You won't raise taxes, which would be the fairest solution because, as you stated, “;It would cause further hardship on local residents and further harm the economy.”;

So instead of pricking everyone's finger, we're going to chop off the hands of a few? Nice.

And how perfect: Hardly any state workers vote Republican.

Well-played, governor. Well-played.

Ken Ige


Tight money times overtax taxpayers

While I can identify with the financial hardships to the state workers if Gov. Linda Lingle's furlough is put into place, government workers need to be realistic about things. The idea of raising the excise tax “;to be fair so everyone pays”; is not realistic because this would mean that the state workers keep their same pay they've been having for the past years. Reality is that my own pay declined almost 20 percent for the last year compared with the previous year of 2007. This year is thus far about 15 percent less than last year. While you can't add the two together (35 percent decrease) it's certainly close to being 30 percent overall in two years.

I have five children so I understand the plight of the state worker with four children. Believe me, I know what you're talking about. But the taxpaying public has already been hit in having significantly reduced income and “;to be fair,”; those who basically had no reduction in their pay during this difficult time shouldn't be somehow “;special”; by not being affected by the economic downturn. We're all in this together so let's all try to make the best of it and make those difficult spending cuts (less eating out, cutting usage of A/C and clothes dryer, etc.)

Gary Fuchikami

Ewa Beach

Temporary increase in GET is way to go

The 13.8 percent salary cut for 19,100 state employees that the governor proposes is a regressive action that will trigger an economic downturn, just as the mainland is starting to emerge from its. The state budget projected shortfall could easily be covered by a temporary 0.5 percent increase in the general excise tax, which is a far more equitable solution.

For a family or small business spending $100,000 a year, a 0.5 percent increase in the Hawaii GET would amount to a $500 a year increase in their expenditures. This is a much more equitable solution than decreasing the salaries of all state employees such as teachers, by 13.8 percent. As the governor put it so aptly in her address, “;People will say I am balancing the budget on the backs of state employees.”; She is!

Our tax rates nationwide are the lowest since World War II as well as much lower than the other major Western democracies. The fantasy that lower taxes increase the gross domestic product has no basis in historical records. If anything, the GDP has increased, not decreased, when taxes are raised, which benefits everyone.

Barry Lienert





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