Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Economic grief should affect all

Anyone who manages a business can easily put themselves in Gov. Linda Lingle's shoes. To let go of valuable members of your staff in order to maintain the financial stability of one's organization is not an easy decision, but a vital one. My employees would be thrilled and grateful to me if I was able to give them a 13.8 percent pay cut with a three-day mandatory furlough per month rather than say goodbye. Unfortunately, the reality is much different, and I had to downsize our staff by 50 percent in order to keep the doors open.

I agree with professor Lawrence Boyd (”;Which cuts are deepest? Do the math,”; Star-Bulletin, June 7) that this is not about fairness; it should not be. It's an economic reality that we all have to face, and government workers are not vaccinated against this belt tightening. At a time when we're all in the same leaky boat, public and private sectors need to share equally in the bailing effort, and nobody gets a pass. Government jobs are not an open-ended entitlement bestowed upon a chosen few for life.

June Rees


Increase the state tax to share budget burden

Applying a 14 percent monthly furlough on public service workers by the governor should be reconsidered with the alternative being a more- equitable distribution of the current fiscal imbalance spread out to all who call Hawaii their home or place of business.

Public employees would experience less hardship if the furlough were one- to 1 1/2 -days' unpaid leave per month. The remaining shortfall in the budget could be made up by an increased state tax of 1 to 2 percent. Applying targeted luxury taxes might also be used to achieve more balance.

All people in Hawaii want to experience the island lifestyle, lead meaningful productive lives, and I believe most will make the necessary small sacrifices to maintain family, home, neighborhood, county and state resources.

Public employees hold our present and future island infrastructure together. You don't miss the water until the well runs dry. Tourists will not come here when the water, the buildings and the streets are not safe, or are below a reasonable standard. A dependable, forward-looking and safe infrastructure here stimulates innovation, creative thinking and investment capital for a needed diversified economy in Hawaii.

Taxes and furloughs can be rethought in the future as revenue improves. A second-rate island infrastructure will impede many people's dreams, aspirations and experience. I believe all well-meaning people here feel a reverence for our extraordinary and unique island communities. By sharing the burdens of our present tourist-based economy in a more equitable distribution, we all come out ahead in the future.

Steve McKean

Haiku, Maui

Higher standards for governor needed

Recently, we have noticed that the great majority of your letters have focused on the handling of our state's budget and deficits, which the Legislature and their leaders failed to study, research and finally, haphazardly put forth in the closing days of their session. They wasted their time mostly on the unimportant and appeared not to have their top priorities and possible solutions in hand at the beginning. Instead, they had the audacity to criticize the governor who in turn criticized them.

A lot of mud-slinging was a result of wasted time and effort. In fact, the Star-Bulletin recently mentioned that the only one that does not face a budget crisis is the City & County of Honolulu.

Anyway, looking forward to our next elections in November 2010, we voters should start considering the criteria for governor, and his/her key staff personnel: 1) Be a CPA or highly experienced in budgetary matters and be able to communicate the numbers clearly; 2) Be highly intelligent, proactive and have a proven leadership record and not merely be an experienced politician; 3) Be able to identify priorities and include recommended solutions (measurable) in his platform for office; 4) Be creative in finding solutions and have a record of these unique accomplishments; and 5) Based on her/his future plans for our island state, be decisive in getting us jobs and independence from recurring economic cycles and dwindling resources.

Donald Mack


Parents were right on stand against dance

Congratulations to Nick Osborne and his wife (”;Hip-hop dance becomes a lesson for daughters,”; Star-Bulletin, June 8). We need more parents like them who recognize opportunities for character education and are not afraid to speak up. Their daughter, her school and the rest of the community are better for their courage and active parenting. Thank you.

Larry Carrasco






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