Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thanks, Council, for tax credit

I want to thank the City Council of the City and County of Honolulu for renewing the real property tax credit for homeowners earning less than $50,000 per year. This is an intelligent and appropriate response to cap the soaring property tax burden on those residents whose incomes have not kept pace with the mostly illusory wealth of their nonspeculative, primary home ownership.

There is, however, a glaring problem with the credit as written. Income from qualified retirement plans is counted twice: first in the year it is contributed, and then again in the year it is distributed. For those working individuals age 60 and over, this double taxation can occur in the same year for which the credit is claimed. Others might not notice until they begin to withdraw their earlier savings, at which time they might recall that they had already reported this income.

Councilmen Charles Djou, Gary Okino and Todd Apo have all expressed an awareness of this issue, but they need to hear from other Oahu residents. Please help them make an excellent idea even better. Contact your councilman — he needs to hear from you.

BJ Wilson


Cooperation key to budget talks

The impasse between Gov. Linda Lingle on the one hand and the unions and county mayors on the other is something to behold. I am reminded of the behavior of children when they refuse to speak to one another. At stake in the midst of all the silly behavior is the common good.

Gov. Lingle is right when she says that the budget crisis is real. At the same time, she seems unwilling to let go of the Republican ideology of less government and no new taxes in order to arrive at a just solution to the problem facing us. The unions are also right when they insist on being a part of the process of decision-making. After all, their mission is to protect the rights of the workers they represent. Yet they, too, need to set aside some of their self-interest so that together everyone can proceed to do what is necessary.

As governor, Lingle needs to set the example and take the lead. We have had enough of game-playing. Now is the time for cooperation and honest, open negotiation. We are waiting.

Neal MacPherson


Hawaii teachers deserve better

Public schools are set to open in only a few weeks. Teachers still do not have a contract even though they have attempted to negotiate with the Department of Education on many occasions. Gov. Linda Lingle is just not engaging in good-faith bargaining under Hawaii law. Instead, she is trying to bully unions through the press with threats of union-busting via furloughs by using substitute teachers rather than professional teachers.

Hawaii's teachers deserve better treatment for all they do rather than lower benefits and a 19-percent wage cut. Hawaii's students deserve better treatment with highly qualified licensed teachers in every classroom five days per week. Hawaii parents deserve to know what is happening to their students and schools this fall.

Niyati Brown


Health insurance costs hurt family

Our household is definitely developing a lack of consumer confidence and a lack of funds to spread to all our obligations.

Our recent increase in Hawaii Medical Service Association coverage was most disturbing. The increase is roughly 19 percent, amounting to a monthly increase of about $90.

We never hear of HMSA doing anything to decrease their administration costs such as the dividends paid to investors, decreasing large executive salaries and useless television advertising.

It is hoped in the future that the government agency responsible for allowing these increases will look a little harder at what is happening to the consumer.

John Buker





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