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POSTED: Monday, July 20, 2009

Fairness lacking in gov's pay cuts

Gov. Linda Lingle needs to get real.

It was very gallant for Lingle and her directors to announce they will be taking two furlough days per month. So what if their salary goes down from $100,000 or more to $90,000 or more? But if what she wants is for all government employees to do the same, how will two furlough days affect workers making $30,000-$40,000 or less? It would be devastating.

If Gov. Lingle truly wants to make things fair, why not base salary reductions on the amounts earned, like the income tax? The more you make, the higher percentage you need to reduce. If you make more than $100,000, take a 25 percent cut in salary. If you make $40,000 or less, take a 5 percent cut. At the very least, the reductions would be progressive.

Gov. Lingle needs to stop negotiating through publicity stunts and media advisories. It is petty and unproductive to do these kinds of stunts to make the unions look bad.

Erik K. Abe

Honolulu

 

               

     

 

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Valuation code hurts real estate

What is the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), and why should Hawaii homeowners be concerned?

Since May 1, 2009, mortgage brokers and loan officers across the nation can no longer order appraisals for their customers' home purchases or refinances. Now, appraisals must be ordered from an independent department with a bank. The intent of this new law by Congress was to curb mortgage fraud.

After just two months, the HVCC is proving more destructive for residents wanting to sell, buy or refinance their homes rather than curbing mortgage fraud.

Today, home values are lower because appraisers now are really working for the banks. Instead of appraisers justifying higher values for homeowners, they are justifying lower values for the banks. As a result, sellers cannot sell at lower appraised values below market, buyers cannot buy unless they have larger cash-down payments, and homeowners cannot refinance without equity.

Property values in Hawaii risk being further devalued from the spiraling downward mechanism of the HVCC.

Congress must end the HVCC now, while Hawaii is still worth something.

Bob Iinuma

Mortgage coach, Legacy Mortgage Inc.

 

Gas tax situation a confusing matter

Does Gov. Linda Lingle speak with forked tongue? She says no to bumping the per-barrel tax on oil up a dollar because that would add 3 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas, which would hurt working folks because they spend a larger portion of their income than the well-off filling their tanks. But she has already said yes to reimposing the double-taxation GET on the sale of gasoline, which now costs us about a dime more a gallon. Same tongue, two forks?

Victor Meyers

Kailua

 

DOE responsible for test scores

Two-thirds of Hawaii's schools failed to meet progress goals under the federal No Child Left Behind law (NCLB).

Many people mistakenly believe that the federal government set those goals, and that they are unrealistically high. However, those goals were actually set by Hawaii's Department of Education. NCLB requires the following: States will establish academic achievement goals by setting academic standards in core subjects and measuring progress using tests aligned to state standards; states will set annual progress goals for school improvement, so all students can reach proficiency and no child is left behind.

It is difficult to understand why so many of Hawaii's schools failed to meet their goals because Hawaii's teachers are among the best in the nation.

The leaders of Hawaii's DOE should take responsibility for the distressing condition of our schools, and the public should hold them accountable.

John Kawamoto

Honolulu