Various taxes won’t be enough
With the proposed tax increases and the high probability of more in the future, how will citizens be able to bear the cost of living in Hawaii?
Why are more tax increases highly probable?
Because the state Employee Retirement System is reported to have an unfunded liability of $9 billion, second worst in the country per capita, and the state’s employee health care benefits fund is reported to have an even larger projected unfunded cost of $10 billion.
It’s pretty obvious that taxing miscellaneous items and retirees, even at lower and lower thresholds, isn’t going to come close to paying this bill.
How are we going to fix this problem? It sounds to me like tax increases, for everyone, as far as the eye can see, unless the governor and the Legislature have the courage to go to the source of the fiscal problem. Until they do that, Hawaii’s taxpayers are right to say no to any increase in spending or taxes.
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Sand Island idea sounds workable
David Nickle’s suggestion to use Sand Island as a shelter for the homeless ("Move homeless to Sand Island," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Feb. 24) sounds good to me.
Before we chase homeless people from anywhere we should have a place we can send them. Sand Island may be the answer.
However, we would need a plan to take care of security, sanitation and other services. It will cost the state money, but we must do something about the homeless problem. Maybe it would even be possible to relocate some social service projects to the area.
$30,000 wasted on rail ceremony
I am puzzled by the lack of fiscal responsibility shown by our city. We are in a severe financial condition, yet city officials think they can spend $30,000 on a groundbreaking ceremony for the rail system.
It amazes me that this type of action is allowed and forced upon the taxpayers.
If we all ran our households in this manner, we would all be homeless, and then what would the city do — raise taxes?
Symphony needs better marketing
I am tired after 40 years of hearing about the musicians and the symphony directors at odds over money.
What is needed is not a model of some kind of business but a good marketing strategy. The musicians and management should try working as a team for once and know that the reason they can’t make any money is because they are difficult to view except for operas and concerts that come to town requesting their services.
Why not have matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays for children, students and families who can’t always get to the concert hall for those special occasions? A yearly fee of perhaps $125 per family would allow attending four concerts in a year. The concerts could be at the Shell, Ala Moana Park or anywhere else that is feasible.
I would love to see the symphony perform with small concerts and local guest soloists. The greatest asset any symphony can have is listeners willing to pay to hear it.
‘Sign from God’ misinterpreted?
I believe the author of a recent letter ("Lightning storm a sign from God?" Star-Advertiser, Feb. 28) misinterpreted the event.
Nearly everyone I know thought the lightning display was truly spectacular. I prefer to think God wasn’t showing his discontent for the passage of the civil unions bill; instead, he was sending us a thank you.
However, that same night a bolt out of the heavens blew a 10-square-foot hole in the steeple of a church. Perhaps that was God’s message of discontent.
Go after illegal tax exemptions
Much has been said of the pitfalls of collective bargaining. But it seems premature to focus on government workers while the state and city allow unlawful tax exemptions to go unchallenged. A diligent review by tax officials would reveal that certain organizations are receiving illegal tax exemptions.
This approach does not necessarily require the creation of new taxes but simply a good faith effort to collect tax revenues already on the books.
Mail-order drugs have drawbacks
The Hawaii Pharmacists Association recognizes that many of our constituents have established long-term, professional relationships with patients; such relationships foster patient understanding of medications, thereby optimizing patient safety and well-being.
Having patients obtain medications via mail order presents a challenge to some and consequently can lead to medication non-adherence, which can affect patient health and increase long-term health care costs.
Since the inception of mandatory mail-order prescription benefits, community hospitals have observed an increase in emergency room visits due to patients not receiving their mail-order prescriptions. Community pharmacies have experienced a significant drop in business because they no longer can provide maintenance medications to these members.
Mandatory mail-order prescription benefit plans send health care dollars and pharmacy business out of the state.
Please keep our families healthy by allowing them to be cared for by Hawaii’s pharmacists.
President, Hawaii Pharmacists Association