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Letters to the Editor

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Place cap on income taxes

There is a simple long-term solution to Hawaii’s budget shortfall. The state should cap income tax at $10,000 per individual and $20,000 per joint return. At first glance this would seem to reduce state revenues, but a little work with government statistics and a calculator gives a different picture.

Hawaii is underperforming the nation as a whole in attracting high earners. In 2004, the state had 31 percent fewer high earners filing taxes than would be predicted using national data. In addition, Hawaii’s top earners earned 12 percent less than the nation’s average. If we could get those numbers up to the national average, we’d grow our economy by $3.2 billion.

The benefits of a tax cap would be numerous. First, it would be fairer. A person making $10 million a year certainly doesn’t use government services 100 times more than someone making $100,000. Second, encouraging very wealthy people to move here could help everything from struggling businesses to establishing a new symphony. Third, it would put out the message that Hawaii will no longer seek to punish the local entrepreneur.

John LeRoux
Waikiki

 

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The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~175 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

 

Isle teachers are underpaid

In response to Gerhard Hamm’s letter about how the Hawaii State Teachers Association recommended teachers to take furlough days instead of get a pay cut, I would like to remind him that the teachers voted on the proposal ("Union urged teachers to choose furloughs," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Jan. 15). Teachers voted to not take a pay cut because they already are grossly underpaid for the work they do.

I would like to see all the people who complain about teachers have to actually attempt to do a teacher’s job for even a day. Then, maybe the complainers would think twice about flaunting their lack of respect for (and lack of knowledge about) people who provide a huge service for our children, grandchildren and all of society.

Connie Wickware
Kalihi Valley

 

Combat difficult for women

As a social studies teacher and infantry veteran, I am no chauvinist. But I am a realist. A combat load is anywhere between 80-120 pounds, plus a Kevlar vest and helmet. In all, about 130 pounds.

The whole debate about women in combat roles is based on equality and cohesion. When women begin to fall out of 15-, 20-, and 25-mile movements due to their physical limits, others in their unit will have to carry their load. If it happens consistently, that is when unit cohesion can disintegrate. I have witnessed it first-hand among all-male units. Resentment can grow in anyone who feels that he is getting the short end of the stick.

Brian Cole
Ewa Beach

 

Will ignores other tyrannies

At the heart of George Will’s recent critique that America has lost its way politically is his call for the new Congress to affirm the "reality of American exceptionalism" ("New Congress has restorative powers," Star-Advertiser, Jan. 16). The idea of American exceptionalism, Will argues, traces back to Alexis de Tocqueville, who said America was unique because it was born free of a feudal past and an entrenched aristocracy. This freedom is now threatened by a government whose power now centers in the executive branch and "the growing autonomy of the regulatory state."

Will’s argument, however, is no less one-sided than his critique. Tocqueville also warned of this threat to democracy: "the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing up under our eyes (and) is one of the harshest which ever existed in the world." Also, Will might have quoted President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex.

Mark Helbling
Honolulu

 

Mental health worth paying for

We turn a blind eye and deaf ear to mental health issues. Like Hawaii, Arizona drastically cut mental health funding.

Ask the families of the 9-year-old girl and others who were killed: Was the money the state saved worth just one life? Many sick individuals desperately need help and no help is available. Mental illness is real and most cases can be successfully treated with the right medication. How many more have to die needlessly or be jailed because it’s shameful to talk about it and get help?

Pauline Arellano
Mililani

 

Homes need clotheslines

How is it that home associations here in this state ban the use of clotheslines? We have the best free energy source to hang-dry our clothes.

Yes, there are concerns about our property values declining. What’s new?

It’s funny to see some new developments advertising energy-efficient homes. A true energy-efficient home should have a clothesline. Energy-efficient dryers — what an oxymoron.

Nora Santiago
Ewa Beach

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