Tax proposal ignores reality
Gov. Neil Abercrombie just doesn’t get it. Most private industry pension plans do not adjust benefits for inflation. Once established, the benefit remains unchanged for the life of the beneficiary.
This is very different from public employee plans, in which generous benefits are further enhanced with an annual inflation adjustment. For those not enjoying such an adjustment, inflation is the most cruel tax there is.
I was involved in the design of my company’s pension plan years ago. I can verify that the exemption from Hawaii taxation was very much in the consideration of the plan terms, including the amount of the pension benefits. Also, Abercrombie proposes limits to exclude low- and middle-income taxpayers from the pension tax. He has been in Washington too long. His figures for cost of living in Hawaii are out-and-out poverty levels. Middle-income lifestyles are far more expensive, and rising rapidly.
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Taxi complaints don’t tell it all
The article in yesterday’s Star-Advertiser notes that the number of complaints about airport taxi services is relatively small ("Airport taxi service under state scrutiny"). That may be, but it is not very likely that visitors to Honolulu will take the time (or have the knowledge) required to register their dissatisfaction. Even kamaaina users such as myself are not very likely to take action unless the situation concerns an extremely serious problem. The complaints received are just the tip of the iceberg.
Groups oppose elevated rail
Recent media portrayal of the growing opposition to the city’s rail transit plan was unfortunately reduced to a political dust-up between former Gov. Ben Cayetano and Mayor Peter Carlisle. It obscured our shared belief that the city’s proposed elevated heavy rail project will destroy mauka-makai view planes, create a physical barrier between the city and our famed waterfront and disturb native Hawaiian burial grounds along its right-of-way.
We consequently are united in opposing the construction of an elevated heavy-rail system through historic downtown Hono-lulu and strongly urge consideration of a less destructive and more neighborhood-friendly system.
"We" includes the League of Women Voters of Honolulu, The Outdoor Circle, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, Life of the Land, Residents Along The Rail, Save Oahu Farmland Alliance, Friends of Makakilo, Hoa’aina o Hawai’i’imiloa of Leeward Community College and Donors of Irwin Park.
Everyone must learn about the realities of the city’s plan and the steamroller process that is propelling it. There’s much more to come.
League of Women Voters of Honolulu
Here is how airline profits
I read with some interest the Hawaiian Airlines profit report ("Hawaiian Airlines earnings double," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 2). I know, in part, how they do it.
On Jan. 6, 2010, my wife and I had car trouble on our way to catch our plane in Phoenix. We missed our flight by about 90 minutes. The rebooking fee to fly the next day was $317.90 per ticket. Hawaiian Airlines got $635.80 in cash because we were late.
On Jan. 22, 2011, Flight 35 from Phoenix to Hawaii was delayed eight hours due to plane trouble. We got two $100 non-transferable coupons that will expire in a year (which likely few passengers will ever get to use).
I am actually curious about the difference, especially since the incremental cost to rebook a flight is close to zero.
Why was Morita picked for PUC?
What, exactly, are Hermina Morita’s qualifications and experience for the chair position at the state Public Utilities Commission? Your article describes the commission as "quasi-judicial," yet Morita’s resume appears devoid of executive, managerial or even quasi-judicial experience ("Governor selects House energy pioneer Morita to lead PUC," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 4). Don’t the taxpayers of Hawaii deserve better? I’m disappointed but not surprised.
Reagan’s ‘city on hill’ still there
I am amazed that the Honolulu Star-Advertiser had almost nothing to say about a milestone in American history, the 100th anniversary of the birth of our 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan. To omit the centennial anniversary of one of our nation’s most loved and accomplished leaders is unforgivable.
Hawaii was a principal beneficiary of President Reagan’s leadership and steady hand during the Cold War and recovery from the economic crisis in the 1980s. We would be wise to follow his wisdom then to find our way out of the morass we find ourselves in now. The city on the hill is still there.
Canyon Lake, Texas
Vog alerts would be very helpful
I agree with Charles Laquidara ("Media should provide news alerts about vog," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Feb. 5). There are about 170,000 people living in Hawaii with breathing problems affected by vog and my wife is one of them. Only rarely is vog or haze mentioned in TV news weather reports.
Vog alerts would be a valuable public service to us with lung disease or other breathing problems.
Don’t let burial sites delay rail
Richard Borreca’s column, "Don’t count on riding Honolulu rail anytime soon," was enlightening (Star-Advertiser, Feb. 4).
By referencing it to the 25 years it took to build the H-3 freeway because of legal challenges dealing with everything from environmental issues to native burial sites, I found the whole process somewhat absurd. If it takes that long to build the rail transit system after its approval by voters, we are allowing a very small segment of the population to run roughshod over the rest of us. Allowing delays because of unmarked native burial sites is beyond belief for any place but Hawaii. Removing them to a nearby site, out of the rights-of-way, and marking them, would be a lot more respectful and cost-effective than re-routing an entire project around them.
On a small, heavily populated island, you are bound to run into burial sites. This is dealt with successfully all over the world; why not here?
Allowing delays for this sort of thing hurts us all through cost overruns, legal fees and time delays. Surely, common sense should come to bear.