State building should be sold
Richard Borreca highlights the state’s shuttered Kamamalu Building as an example of the challenges the state faces in best utilizing our facilities and finding ways to save money ("Former state building is entryway into black hole," Star-Advertiser, On Politics, Feb. 25). One possible solution? Selling the building to a private developer, who could make the needed renovations and lease the building back to the state. This public-private partnership is the core of House Bill 1505, which I introduced this session to create the State Facility Renovation Partnership Program.
Not only would selling the building provide significant revenue to the state, but the partnership program will also provide a way to renovate the building without being stalled by many of the typical bureaucratic hurdles, allowing us to address the state’s significant backlog of deferred facility maintenance and providing another tool to undertake new construction projects.
District 40 (Kapolei, Makakilo, Royal Kunia, Kalaeloa)
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State Library in poor condition
Is it just laziness or is it part of the ongoing hostility toward patrons that the main branch of the State Library has been allowed to fall into such disrepair?
We witness an overabundance of gaudy, unattractive signs, ceiling tiles missing or about to collapse, trash cans and even coffee tins catching water leaks in various locations, stinking restrooms, and, for some reason, the use of yellow crime scene-like caution ribbons to keep patrons from going into the courtyard or other locations.
Andrew Carnegie would not be pleased the library is being maintained this way.
Place the crime scene ribbons around the entire building because it is a crime that Hawaii libraries are being kept in this manner.
Rep. Marumoto owed an apology
Gov. Neil Abercrombie owes Rep. Barbara Marumoto a considerable apology for his two-minute-long diatribe when she questioned the apparently low starting figure for his proposed pension tax — $37,500. He took a simple and valid concern and made it political and personal.
He was unequivocally wrong and looked the total fool in his attack, especially since it’s his own tax proposal that he erroneously defended. Marumoto’s calm demeanor throughout the rambling only magnified his foolishness.
I’ll pass on more well-known applicable sayings here and quote a somewhat lesser-known one: "A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something."
How about some spending cuts?
I am obviously one of many who are complaining about Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s plan to tax pensions, especially when he wants to fill vacancies and hire new staff — the direct opposite of what the counties and other states are doing in the face of severe budget shortfalls.
Abercrombie’s plan, if adopted, will surely affect those who plan to retire here in Hawaii, retirees whose expenditures on the local economy as residents will far exceed any tax imposed by the state. And those expenditures will be more balanced and pervasive throughout the economy than the focused reallocation of wealth proposed by the governor.
I’m willing to pay my share to help with valid budget deficits, but not until I see a more realistic cutback in state spending.
Cut tax refunds and save money
How many people out there depend on their tax refund? How many folks would really miss that lump sum between February and June?
What if the IRS stopped giving out refunds? You’d still have to file, and pay if you owe. But the government would keep whatever it already took out. In the 2008 tax year, refunds totaled $324.1 billion. Wouldn’t that put a dent in the deficit?
If you put this plan into effect, more people will start tweaking their withholding amount to more closely match their actual tax rate, and that figure will go down. On the other hand, the IRS will surely save some money not having to track, print and mail or deposit those refunds.
I’m sure lots of folks will say it’s unconstitutional and just plain unfair. But at least it’s an idea.
Don’t charge for parking at parks
Mayor Peter Carlisle said in his first State of the City address that there would be no sacred cows exempt from taxation. I, and a lot of people like me, disagree.
Public access to recreational areas is not equivalent to 60-year-old golfers anteing up for course maintenance. Hawaii’s families have the right to relax at our beaches without worrying about parking fees as if they were going to their downtown dentist.
When Mufi Hannemann’s administration raised parking fees at Kapiolani Park and the Honolulu Zoo, the floodgate to new parking taxation was opened. Hawaii’s people must rally to stop the mayor’s Magic Island and Ala Moana Park meter-installation scheme.
The mayor said his was a transformational government from a caterpillar to a butterfly. What we see is more of a transformation from a tadpole to a toad.