For Saturday, July 30, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 30, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:22 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011
Matthew Gardner reports that the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, cut the earned income tax credit, and called it a "tax on the poor" ("Poor role model," Star-Advertiser, Commentary, July 28).
What it means is that the state will not write a taxpayer-funded check to people below a certain income level.
In addition, colleges with professors teaching one or two classes a week and being paid six-figure incomes has required colleges to raise their tuition. How could that be the governor's fault?
And particularly egregious, according to Gardner, was the decrease of college education grants. Whatever happened to the days when college students paid for their college education?
The governor balanced the budget per state law, funded future retirement programs for public employees and provided a surplus to be used when needed. The author considers this irresponsible.
It is quite obvious that Gardner is not only not nonpartisan but extremely biased and short of facts.
Gary R. Johnson
While nobody yet knows the outcome of the current debt ceiling talks in Washington, D.C., what we do know is this: Hawaii seniors could see their Social Security benefits cut as part of a deal to pay the nation's bills.
One proposal that would immediately cut benefits for seniors is a plan to permanently change the way the cost of living adjustment is calculated immediately. That proposal would cut Social Security by $112 billion, costing seniors thousands over their lifetimes.
Social Security did not cause the deficit, and cutting Social Security benefits should not be on the table as an option to reduce the deficit.
Any discussion of proposals that would affect Social Security should occur only in a separate debate on strengthening Social Security and improving retirement security, not on balancing the budget.
Volunteer executive council member, AARP Hawaii
Drew Kosora doesn't want the tea party to sabotage and ruin the GOP ("Tea party activists are sabotaging GOP," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 28). I have a hard time believing that Kosora is a conservative.
Raising the debt ceiling would only stave off default temporarily. Both Republicans and Democrats have been raising the debt ceiling every couple of years and we now have a debt of more than $14 trillion and increasing by more than a trillion dollars a year.
What good is a debt ceiling? When will we reach the point where we run out of places to go to borrow more money and at what interest rate?
What we need is a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget except for emergencies.
The tea party may have to form its own political party to save this country, and I hope for future generations it is not too late.
Warren K. Fukushima
Mayor Peter Carlisle stated that police officers should take the 5 percent pay cut and the 50-50 deal on the medical insurance like everybody else. It's not going to happen.
The State of Hawaii Police Officers Union (SHOPO) is not looking for any pay increases or increases in its medical insurance coverage. It will be satisfied in keeping what it has already. The union wants to negotiate, and the rank and file can live with the outcome of binding arbitration, should negotiations reach an impasse.
The mayors of Maui, Kauai and the Big Island are pro police and were supported by SHOPO. Peter Carlisle wasn't.
Remember, when people are fleeing the onslaught of gunfire, our officers are running to it, to eliminate the threat. As three recent shootings involving police showed: Cops 3, bad guys 0.
As an employee with the Hawaii Government Employees Association, I am completely disgusted by the recent statements of SHOPO president Tenari Ma‘afala. He has said there's no way they will accept a 5 percent pay cut and refuses to even consider a raise in medical contributions.
Excuse me, but the rest of us are taking the pay cut along with an increase in our medical. And let's remember that during the fiscal emergency of the last two years they took a 6 percent pay raise each year while the rest of us in government service had to take an almost 10 percent pay cut in the form of furloughs.
He also said that nearly 300 officers could opt to retire if the pay cuts happen, leaving HPD almost 700 officers short. Every state and county office faced the same thing in 2009 when we were bullied into taking the furloughs. We made it through by working hard and being efficient.
It's not fair to expect HGEA and other public unions to be paddling the canoe if SHOPO is going to be riding in the back cruising.
Shawn M. Lathrop