Retirees did not cause fiscal crisis
If I hear one more time that I need to help paddle the canoe, I will go berserk.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, I am paddling as hard as I can and you want to give me a smaller oar. I served in the military for 26 years and sacrificed many things to earn my pension. You want me to sacrifice again while you seek funds for programs like juvenile delinquency prevention and the Hawaii Film Office, to name a few.
By my estimate, we are doing plenty to keep the canoe moving. We pay state taxes on our current salaries, property taxes on our homes, and we frequent numerous local merchants and small businesses. Rest assured, I will be purchasing less from these merchants if your tax plan is implemented.
Most states in the nation are in fiscal crisis, but retirees did not cause the problem and it’s unfair to target us to bail out the canoe.
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Younger people shoulder burden
By considering a state income tax on pensions as one way to reduce our state budget shortfall, Gov. Neil Abercrombie boldly showed us that he truly cares for this state, not just his party.
With pension income untaxed by the state, younger people unfairly fund a disproportionate share of the state budget.
With means-testing to protect pensioners in the lowest income brackets, the state should start taxing pensions so retirees pay our fair share. With the percentage of residents over 65 increasing and requiring more services, the shortfall by not taxing pensions can only be expected to increase. Such a change could make living in Hawaii more affordable for the young and energetic work force that we need.
Equality claim is not quite true
While I favor civil unions, I find the headline "Equality is for all Hawaii citizens" and the accompanying letter to be pure shibai (Star-Advertiser, Letters, Feb. 21).
The writer praises the Legislature for passing civil unions, saying, "It’s nice to know some still believe in freedom and equality for all of Hawaii’s people."
As state Sen. Mike Gabbard pointed out, those related by blood are excluded from civil unions. I’ve been taking care of my older brother for many years, and would love to enter a civil union to get the rights and benefits, and especially the tax breaks. But guess what? No can. This is unfair.
In real world, U.S. still at war
Whatever the merits of Thomas Sowell’s contribution to the high-speed rail debate over on the contiguous states might be ("Railing about rail," Star-Adver- tiser, Feb. 22), those merits decline significantly when he states that "our current … debt has been expanding by leaps and bounds in peacetime — and with no end in sight for the next decade."
Perhaps the professor needs to step down from his ivory tower and look at the real world. When our country starts bombing other countries and our citizens are being wounded and killed almost every day, I’d like to know his definition of "peacetime."
I doubt that our military personnel and others who have been and still are being put in harm’s way in the service of our country would have the same definition.
Biotech saved Hawaii papayas
The Senate Agriculture Committee’s decision to kill two bills that would have required genetically modified foods to be labeled is not "a disservice to all customers" ("Public has a right to know on GMO," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Feb.17). Consumers already know what they are buying.
Here in Hawaii, our papaya industry was devastated by the papaya ringspot virus, which cut production by more than 50 percent. Through biotechnology, scientists were able to develop a papaya that was resistant to ringspot. The disease-resistant papaya was inoculated in the same way that we’re vaccinated against the flu. Without the transgenic papaya, all papaya — both conventional and organic — would be gone.
Farmers are already facing severe economic hardships. Labeling food like our local rainbow papaya is an attempt to suggest to consumers that there is something inherently wrong with the fruit. More than 15 years of research confirms what the Food and Drug Administration has already stated: Genetically engineered foods are just as safe and healthy as foods grown conventionally or organically.
Director, Hawaii Papaya Industry Association
Move homeless to Sand Island
The ideal place to create a temporary homeless shelter is Sand Island State Park.
The homeless migrate toward the beach and ocean. Sand Island is perfect for them. It has a beach, ocean, trees, bathrooms, lots of space and is not in anybody’s back yard.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum is coming and the homeless are defecating on Waikiki Beach. Something needs to be done now.