Better service must accompany tax hikes
I’ve come to realize that high taxes aren’t necessarily bad. But are we really getting our money’s worth when it comes to the quality of the public services we receive?
Our infrastructure is deteriorating and our schools are struggling.
If Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Legislature are planning to raise taxes, they must make a sincere effort to improve the quality of civic services.
Let’s challenge them to tackle overhead costs and eliminate wasteful expenses so that more funds actually reach the people on the ground level, those who get the job done.
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State shouldn’t tax military pensioners
For the second year in a row, the taxes on my federal military retired pension have gone up, without a corresponding increase to compensate for inflation thus resulting in a net loss.
Yet, President Barack Obama has the gall to sit in front of the entire nation in an interview before the Super Bowl and boast he has not raised taxes for the past two years.
Now Gov. Neil Abercrombie thinks it a good idea to tax this very same federal military pension because anyone over provided $75,000 AGI (couple) is a "wealthy" pensioner. Abercrombie says we should all share in the economic woes of the state, even though my military service was all over the world and my pension has nothing to do with the state of this state.
I have another income that is taxed to the hilt by the state, therefore I am carrying my load.
Transfer students to help small schools
Am I missing something? If the smaller schools in East Oahu scheduled for closure can be saved by transferring students from nearby larger schools, why can’t the same be done for those schools in Kalihi?
The larger schools that are proposed to absorb the students from Kalihi and Puuhale elementary schools are already at or exceeding optimum enrollment levels. Why not transfer some of those students to Kalihi and Puuhale to boost the enrollment levels at the smaller schools?
City hypocritical on issue of plastic bags
Our city politicos do not want to ban plastic bags because they make high-quality fuel for HPOWER, or so says city Department of Environmental Services Director Tim Steinberger ("Plastic-bag ban initiatives see mixed results in isles," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 7). This is the same excuse former Mayor Mufi Hannemann used to delay curbside recycling.
Is the message that we should all use more bags so HPOWER can produce electricity? Is there a conflict of interest in the city between trash and recycling? It seems so. It doesn’t seem to matter to businesses or our environmental services director that turtles, monk seals and birds are starved from swallowing plastic bags. Or that there are solutions to pollution. We have the technology, the knowledge and the awareness, but we choose our own selfish destructive ways. Auwe!
Wouldn’t it be better to cut the spending?
Raise taxes, reduce deductions, cut benefits — raising revenues always seems to be the simple answer. Most of us pay, and the needy suffer from cuts to health and support programs.
What is wrong with cutting the budget?
Reduce department spending by 5 or 6 or 8 percent. If a vacant job is unneeded, stop funding it and take it off the books. Projects that languish cost far more — either do it or cancel it. Stop buying buses that cost more and are less efficient in the name of technology. Drive state cars and trucks one more year before eliminating them. Just use common sense.
University president can do job better living on campus
A university president’s job today is a seven-day-a-week one, and no one should take the job without that knowledge. The average tenure of a university president is somewhere between five and seven years, because it is so demanding. The job also requires fundraising, and that is a 365-day commitment.
It’s not a job where you can hide in a home or condominium, away from the campus. Great presidents make their homes available to students, faculty, alumni and other interested parties, greeting all these people. My well-known university has a woman president, and she feels it is extremely important to live in the campus house for these reasons.
Shame on the weak Board of Regents for allowing such a travesty and short-changing the citizens of Hawaii, and especially the students.
Article was unfair to Greenwood
The Star-Advertiser gets an A+ for printing the most conspicuously slanted article about University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood and College Hill ("UH pays president’s rent despite redone mansion," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 16).
When she was hired, it was well known that a member of her family is severely handicapped and that the $440,000 renovation to College Hill foolishly did not include making the house compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Certainly you don’t expect the handicapped person to sleep in the living room. But your article failed to emphasize this until two small sentences near the end of this inflammatory article.
Instead, you wasted staff time and space on this non-issue when you should be supporting Hawaii’s one major university and its tireless and respected president, whose compensation is a small price to pay for her devotion to the betterment of Hawaii.