For Sunday, January 30, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 30, 2011
The editorial "Energy policy needs oversight" (Star-Advertiser, Jan. 24) makes the point — reiterated by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the State of the State speech — that reducing dependence on oil requires more resources for the independent Public Utilities Commission and Consumer Advocate.
Hawaii Energy Policy Forum members — utilities, environmentalists, energy companies from refineries to renewables and academics — all wholeheartedly agree.
A simple and straightforward solution exists. A surcharge is collected from all utility bills to fund the PUC and CA. But less than one-fourth of that money goes to fund the PUC and 10 percent to the CA. Two-thirds of the money is "reallocated" or "raided" — whichever term you prefer — by the Legislature for the state's general fund.
Reorganization plans for the PUC and CA were approved by the Legislature in 2010. Abercrombie should tell his human resources department to describe and fill the new positions and, second, the PUC must regain control of all money collected for its operation.
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It is with a heavy heart and a determined spirit that I add my voice to others who have asked, pleaded and insisted that Kawaiahao Church cease and desist with the removal of 'iwi kupuna.
The church has already unearthed 23 separate gravesites and has disturbed 69 separate sets of 'iwi kupuna to build a $21-million, multipurpose building.
I am the lineal descendant of a kahu who was ordained in Kawaiahao Church, who was married there and who lived, loved and died for this church. He was buried on the grounds of the church in 1884 in the area of the construction site. It goes against everything I believe in as a grandchild of this kupuna and as someone who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ to allow the desecration of his final resting place.
Our kupuna deserve to rest in peace forever. Please help to stop this horrific act and insist that Kawaiahao Church stop digging up the bones of our kupuna.
As a longtime supporter of Neil Abercrombie, I was shocked and truly saddened by the proposals in his State of the State address. His theme for addressing the deficit was that "everyone must be prepared to contribute." Fair enough. But here is how Abercrombie would affect "everyone":
» Decrease services for families on welfare.
» Eliminate the tax break for pension income, dramatically hitting our retired elderly.
» End Medicare reimbursements for retired public workers.
» Reduce public worker costs by 5 percent.
Why isn't Abercrombie thinking about ending some of our most egregious tax-credit programs that benefit only the wealthy and that research shows are the absolutely worst way to increase employment and enhance the economy?
I have enjoyed not paying Hawaii state taxes on my federal retirement that I began receiving seven years ago. But to help get our beautiful state back from the brink of financial disaster, I certainly am willing to have my pension taxed by the state, as it would have been if I have lived in most of the states on the mainland. Only nine other states do not tax federal retirements, and I would not want to live in any of those states just to avoid paying state taxes on my retirement.
I want to live in a solvent Hawaii that takes care of its people.
If Gov. Neil Abercrombie is willing to have his congressional retirement taxed by the state of Hawaii, I, too, am willing to help our state in this way.