We should not cut tourism ads
Gov. Neil Abercrombie suggests we take from the Hawaii Tourism Authority funding to promote the state and use it to improve the infrastructure that visitors can see.
On first blush, it sounds good. But Abercrombie is making a business decision with political judgments. He seems not to appreciate the return on advertising dollars well spent — except in his campaign, where he and the lieutenant governor spent close to $5 million advertising themselves to secure two jobs. But he suggests that spending about 18 to 20 times more to secure tens of thousands of jobs and many millions in revenue to the state is not as wise.
It is a classic example of eating the goose that lays the golden eggs. Business Advertising 101 tells us to not cut your advertising in hard times. It only makes the hard times harder.
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Jury right to free peacock killer
I’m relieved that we still have intelligent people like those in the jury who acquitted Sandra Maloney.
Shame on those who stood around and let the peacock suffer. Why didn’t they put it out of its misery?
Humane Society failed to help
Pamela Burns said, "There are humane ways to address unwanted animals with organizations and agencies available to help" ("Humane Society decries verdict," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Jan. 25).
The issue of peacocks in Makaha Valley is not a recent event. There have been many articles and news items about the issue. What did the Humane Society do in relation to helping stem the noise problem? It appears that her agency should have been the lead in addressing the problem.
Alexander was good choice
Kudos to the Star-Advertiser for getting behind Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s selection of Marc Alexander as coordinator for homelessness ("Off the News," Star-Advertiser, Jan. 24).
Alexander is a hard-working, dynamic and compassionate individual. The Catholic Church has a long history of concern for the poor and needy. It is a tenet of our faith, so this is not a new area of concern for the former vicar general.
Let’s see what his considerable vision and energy can bring to the issue of homelessness before criticizing the appointment.
Homeless czar a divisive figure
I am a supporter of Gov. Neil Abercrombie but I strongly oppose his appointment of Marc Alexander as the coordinator on homelessness in Hawaii.
He has been a lobbyist for the Catholic Church, fiercely opposing civil unions and same-sex marriage. In my years of political activism, I have frequently witnessed Alexander promoting the church’s opposition to gay rights, death with dignity, abortion and stem-cell research. But I have never once heard him advocate for the homeless, not even when the Catholic Church in Hawaii could have intervened to save affordable housing at Kukui Gardens.
Alexander is a divisive figure in our community. This appointment does a disservice to the people of Hawaii. Our homeless deserve better.
Pension tax carries great risk
During his State of the State address, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced a proposed change to the tax code "to treat pension income like all other income for (state Income) tax purposes."
Hawaii is one of only 10 states that does not tax pension and Social Security income. This tax advantage undoubtedly helps encourage thousands of retirees to settle here in their golden years.
Retirees are very beneficial economically because they bring their assets and pension income to our state and usually do not compete for employment. In effect, they are long-term tourists who boost job opportunities and business income across the board. Taxing pensions would discourage future retirees from settling in Hawaii and cause some current retired residents to leave for lower cost-of-living alternatives on the mainland.
The Department of Taxation estimate of annual revenue from a previous proposal in 2009 (Senate Bill 971) amounted to only around $6 million per year, but the negative economic harm is infinite and potentially catastrophic.
Hawaii would be better served by the improved enforcement/collection of delinquent unpaid state taxes, which totaled $374.9 million in 2008 alone.