For Friday, January 28, 2011
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 28, 2011
The governor's plan to tax the pensions of retired public workers is ludicrous and unfair to all the people who worked hard all those years. Enough already, give us a break! Let me offer some common sense suggestions that might help:
First, increase the general excise tax so that everyone contributes every time someone buys a product or service.
Second, obtain more funds from the federal government toward the medical and health care expenses caused by the Micronesian population.
Third, crack down on welfare and tax fraud. The state loses millions yearly to people cheating the system.
Fourth, return more of the 30-plus percent pay raise given to politicians.
Fifth, gaming. We need to stop talking about it and just do it already. Millions of dollars are being lost to Las Vegas every day by the local people of Hawaii.
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie has submitted a bill to tax pensioners at the same rate as the federal level. Retirees who receive pensions either federal or state are mostly of an age to unlikely be able to find new employment to pay this new tax on their pension income. Most of us went through extensive research and budgeting to determine when we could afford to retire; taxing of pension income was not part of that calculation. The governor's plan is an attack on our very quality of life and future independence from state programs.
If the governor truly is interested in reprioritizing state government, then he can start by borrowing the rail transit fund money with a payback with interest in a few years.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has given his first State of the State address and, by calling for a cut in public employee benefits, has now boldly gone where no Democrat has gone before (apologies to Star Trek). For that he should at least be given some credit. Hearing him, however, I couldn't help but think about what I saw this past weekend: a state pothole crew at work on Kamehameha Highway in Pearl City. One guy was working and the other three were watching him work. So, for probably time-and-a-half pay, the taxpayers were paying for six guys with only one actually being productive.
Sometimes the solution to our fiscal mess is so obvious we are blinded by it.
Sacred Hearts Head of School Betty White makes a very strong case in her article, "Ascension of women in workforce is welcome" (Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Jan. 17).
Every leading indicator noted seems to point to a future of not only female equality but of dominance.
When college scholarship recipients are shown in this newspaper they are without exception overwhelmingly female. Perhaps the time will come soon for a Title IX law (which bans sex discrimination in education) for boys.
Bringing our prisoners home from the mainland will not solve the problem, which is that one out of 32 Hawaii residents are either under warrant, indictment, incarceration or probation. What is needed is a change in our paradigm.
Experts concur that it takes 90 days to change a habit; therefore, any jail sentence of less than 90 days is a waste of money.
Nonviolent offenders do not need iron bars, brick and mortar. Ankle bracelets and the aluminum-framed structures being used for the homeless would be adequate.
The shortest sentence allowed by law should be 90 days.
Senate Bill 13 would criminalize the trapping of feral cats, even for the purpose of humane trap/neuter/return (TNR). This bill must be stopped in its tracks.
This misguided legislation would be ineffective in resolving legitimate community concerns surrounding feral/stray cat populations. It would also ultimately be more expensive. If TNR is illegal, feral cats would multiply, making the problem worse. Eradicating feral cats in Hawaii would be a short-term fix and could cost millions of dollars.
TNR programs work. Nationwide and in Hawaii, animal lovers have made strides in curbing feral/stray cats, many of which are in that position because of the carelessness or cruelty of humans. People who agree should contact the members of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.