Monday, February 8, 1999
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Legislator has 'right' to collect pensionI am sometimes amazed at what people like R. Harding Teves (Letter, Feb. 2) will say about those of us who have worked for a while as public servants.
My public service began overseas in the U.S. Peace Corps, when I earned $100 a month for two years. I later served in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Vietnam, at $400 per month. My latest public service post was as a state legislator for eight years, with $1,750 per month in take-home pay.
With humble wages like this for 12 years of service to the state and nation, Teves now says that my trying for a small retirement benefit is "hypocritical." I think others might better describe a wage earner like me as a "fool."
I have loved serving my country and the people of Hawaii. If wages and benefits had ever been a consideration, I would have stopped long ago. Full stop.
Shipboard gambling is lesser of evilsPersonally, I hate all forms of gambling but, if Hawaii must have it, shipboard gambling is the way to go. Here's why:
If shipboard gambling turns out to be a mistake, we can tell the owners to take their gambling ships elsewhere. Not so with land-based casinos.
The gaudy casinos would be anchored off shore and not in our hotels and communities.
The state would earn more tax income with shipboard gambling since, in addition to the gambling taxes it would collect, gambling vessels would have to pay for commercial permits to operate in Hawaiian waters.
The state could easily enforce "zero tolerance" against underage gambling or drinking. No one under 21 years of age would be permitted to board a gambling ship.
We only have one chance to do it right. If we must have gambling, our legislators should do the right thing and permit it on ships.
H. Robert Hampton
Rainbow Management Group Ltd.
Why so hard to believe that state has a surplus?Why do you continue to waste valuable space on letter writers who refuse to believe that the state ended its fiscal year 1998 with a $154 million surplus? That fact will be published in our Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, audited and verified by the independent CPA firm of Ernst & Young.
We balanced the budget and ended up with a carryover fund balance. How? Through conservative fiscal management and no-growth budgets in all departments except education, health and public safety.
As a result, state government is spending less than it did in 1995. Even the conservative Cato Institute raised our grade to a B from a D two years ago. We've even managed to achieve the healthy fund balance while increasing spending on education and children's mental health programs, and giving pay raises to teachers ($66 million) and university faculty ($15.9 million).
The state will continue its austere spending policies to maintain a responsible balance. In fact, we expect an even larger fund balance at the end of fiscal 1999, which ends on June 30.
Clearly, the Lingle camp's strident prediction of a $500 million deficit has proven to be pure fiction.
State Director of
Budget and Finance
"I wish I had the luxury to reschedule the (long hostage) situations, but I don't. If you are a victim, then I will help you regardless of overtime."
-- Honolulu detective and police negotiator Ted L. Coons, testifying at the state Legislature against a House bill that would eliminate overtime pay from the calculation of retirement benefits for government workers.
"I did something foolish... It was a careless thing for me to do. We learned a lesson."
-- Author Gardner McKay, who was visited by the Secret Service after writing a satirical commentary piece on President Clinton published by the Honolulu Advertiser.
"Right now, today, we're wearing it, we're eating it, we're using it. We'd like to grow it."
-- Longtime hemp advocate Aaron Anderson, on the plant, which is not a narcotic. Its fibers are in clothing and its seeds are used for food. Big Island representatives want hemp studied as a possible new crop for Hawaii.
Senate is trying to run from its responsibilitiesRepublican House managers fought to present live testimony before a U.S. Senate reluctant to take responsibility for the outcome of the trial of William Jefferson Clinton. But this trial is a sham. Senators placed more credence in polls, politics and winning than on the spirit of bipartisanship, integrity, truth, conscience and healing.
Inaugural's food donation by hotels was no big dealRichard Y. Will's Jan. 22 letter on donations by the visitor industry for the City Council's inauguration was loaded with absurd assumptions. The Council inauguration is held only once every four years, so it is a special occasion for the members, their families and friends. This year's event was especially so, since all nine members are serving their final terms.
Contrary to Will's claim, the Council paid for most of the food served at the reception. The participating hotels each contributed one signature pupu dish, at an average cost of $716. This expression of generosity enabled us to trim the cost of the event from 1995's $8,000 to this year's $6,100, a considerable savings. This also enabled the hotels to showcase their culinary talents.
Yes, the Council does support legislation that will strengthen and improve the visitor industry. Yes, Council members believe the hotel industry and its thousands of employees merit their attention. But this is all accomplished through open debate, not "done deals" as Will would have you believe.
His inference that the Council could be bought for a pupu dish is not only ridiculous, it is insulting.
Trudi S. Saito
Executive Assistant to
City Council Chairman
GOP has better plan to ease tax burdenThe governor and Democratic Party are touting proposed tax cuts as the solution to Hawaii's economic woes. I would be the first to agree that tax cuts are needed and, indeed, Senate Republicans have proposed some significant tax legislation.
We have proposed eliminating the tax on food and over-the-counter drugs, as well as eliminating the pyramiding GET.
These proposals will provide immediate savings for the people of Hawaii. Under the governor's plan to reduce personal income tax, Hawaii's residents won't see significant, if any, relief for at least three years.
But it's going to take more than tax cuts to move the state forward. The current administration is advocating trimming rules and regulations by 40 percent over the next four years. Why wait four years to eliminate rules and regulations that stifle our local business climate and discourage new business from establishing here?
Senate Republicans have again taken the lead and suggested a program that puts the burden of need and accountability on individual departments. Under this plan, all rules and regulations will sunset in three years.
Whitney T. Anderson
Senate Minority Leader
Hawaii State Legislature
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