Pensioners should accept tax as needed sacrifice
Regarding Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proposal to tax pensions, add my voice to that of Ann Wright ("Solvent Hawaii worth sacrifice," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Jan. 30). I am a retiree from state service, and paying taxes is the least I can do to help the state and its less fortunate or more needy citizens in this difficult time.
Being a citizen of a civilized society entails obligations as well as benefits. Rather than tax the poor more heavily through the general excise tax or gimmicks like a lottery, tax my pension and those of others like me who are fortunate enough to be able to afford it.
President John F. Kennedy aptly put it, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
It’s time for all of us to quit bitching about government and pitch in to solve our common problems.
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Governor should not tax pensions or cut Medicare
Gov. Neil Abercrombie should not tax pensions and take away Medicare reimbursements.
My husband has worked for the police department for more than 30 years. He has dedicated his life to keeping our community safe, sacrificing his time with family to help others. My husband is dedicated to his job and looking forward to retiring soon, with the benefits that were promised to him when he first started working at the police department. To have that taken away now would be horrible.
We are taxed for years and years on many things, and to tax the pensions is not right. Taxes were already taken out of our earned income and should not be taxed again, especially in Hawaii, where the cost of everything is so much more than on the mainland. Everyone depends on retirement benefits and should not have to continue to sacrifice for the rest of their lives.
Cut holiday benefits for state workers to cut costs
Here is an idea that can be considered to help ease the state’s budget crisis:
Hawaii has one of the most generous holiday benefits policy in the country — as many as 14 paid holidays for government employees. This state has a daily payroll cost of approximately $8.75 million. By eliminating holiday pay, the state could save approximately $122.5 million per calendar year. State employees would get the day off without pay; employees who must work the holiday can be paid time and a half for work performed on a holiday — not the double time and a half that they presently are paid (paid day off plus overtime for work performed on a holiday).
Civil unions bill ignores the will of the people
So, Senate Bill 232 (civil unions) has been rammed through our Senate and is headed to the House. Whatever happened to this, from our 1998 Constitutional Amendment: "The Legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples."
Sanctioning civil unions is just a formality, a precursor to same-sex marriage, and everyone knows it. What is wrong with our Legislature that they just can’t abide the will of the people? The arrogance of these representatives of ours, believing it is their job to engineer our culture. Are they more enlightened than the rest of us who voted 69 percent to 27 percent against same-sex marriage just 13 years ago?
This is how they get labeled with disdain: elitists. I’m sick of it. I’m going to go apply for a civil union with my dog and see what they say.
State credit union board should implement reform
A big mahalo to Rob Perez for bringing this story to light ("Board members under fire," Star-Advertiser, Jan. 30). Like most Hawaii State Federal Credit Union members, my wife and I never voted in past elections. This will change. I also urge Warren Hamamoto to run for office as a director.
I would hope the current board of directors, those that do not resign over this, replace the chairman and cut travel to three trips per year. Do away with spouse/companion travel and eliminate medical reimbursements as a start.
If this does not happen, I will put forth my name as candidate for the board of directors — just as soon as I open my own travel agency.
Health Department acted too fast in product recall
I would like to express my concerns with the way the state Department of Health’s recent recall has been conducted.
Acting fast with product recalls is important for the health and safety of our community, the people and our economy.
That said, I am not so complimentary on the way the recall list was handled. Some companies’ products were on the recall list although they no longer conduct business with First Commercial Kitchen. This presented a big problem for the companies wrongly listed.
Another huge concern is that the list did not mention production dates or lot numbers. How is the consumer supposed to know what to dispose of, or do they just throw away all their inventory?
These questions and concerns tell me that the Department of Health needs to take a look its own operations and response systems.
Solar panels could lower schools’ electrical costs
I could not help but be disappointed that the article on air conditioning in schools seems to omit or ignore solar electrical panels ("DOE seeks way to cool classrooms," Star-Advertiser, Jan. 31). One major point made was that the electrical costs of air conditioning are expensive.
Looking down from the hill by Kailua High School, a great expanse of flat roofs completely unencumbered by tree shade is visible. Also, protruding from many windows are small air conditioners. It seems obvious that the school is an ideal site for electrical solar panels, especially since the school is in session when the solar panels would be operating at maximum efficiency.
I know that the initial cost is expensive and that there are educational budget problems. Why not offer an educational bond to the public? The reduction in school electrical costs would pay off the bonds.