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Collect trash left out by homeless

Where is the compassion for the homeless?

I recently took a ride past Keaau Beach Park and saw the homeless living in the bush. What struck me most is that the homeless living there bag their garbage and place it on the side of the road.

If we truly care about the aina and the homeless problem, why is it so difficult for a public agency to send a truck once a week to pick up the rubbish?

The homeless have the decency to bag it; the least that could be done is to send someone out there to pick it up. We live in a civilized country, yet we treat the homeless like they are from a Third World country.

Do something to make the citizens proud and prevent the waste from going into the land and the ocean.

Pick it up.

Frederick Saunders
Waianae

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

 Pension tax is ‘bait and switch’

The Legislature has set up a perfect "bait and switch" scheme with the passage and crossover of bills to tax pensions.

The bills establish rather high thresholds for when the pension tax would apply: $100,000 for singles and $200,000 for couples seems so high that surely it won’t affect many pensioners. Most of them will gasp a sigh of relief. The bait is set.

The switch takes effect in future legislative sessions when lawmakers determine that in order to be fair they need to tax all pensioners the same way — in other words, all pensions need to be taxed.

With the bait and switch complete, who could argue that all pensioners are now treated fairly as the state takes in about $200 million in new revenue? The only victims in this scam are the elderly, who must adjust their lifestyles to reflect a 10 percent reduction in their income. It’s better to protest a little at the beginning than a lot at the end.

Garry P. Smith
Ewa Beach

 

GET exemption lowers home cost

Thanks to Richard Borreca for exposing the "tax on a tax" problems with repealing the current imposition of the general excise tax on subcontractors ("As deficit grows, GET increase looks more attractive," Star-Advertiser, On Politics, March 13).

He is absolutely correct to point out state Sen. David Ige’s objection that it just adds to the pyramiding and expense for housing. Is there anyone who might think that our housing is not quite expensive enough?

Let’s be clear about what the proposal does: It removes the current bypass for subcontractors, and therefore their customers, and makes them pay the 4.5 percent tax twice. If you undertake a $100,000 renovation job, and $10,000 of that is for painting, then under current law the general contractor can pay the 4.5 percent or $450 for the sub and he deducts it and pays the sub $9,550. Under the proposal he will do the same and pay the state $4,500 for the tax on $100,000. Then when the painting subcontractor get his $9,550, he will have to pay 4 or 4.5 percent again or $430. The state gets $880 in general excise taxes off a $10,000 job.

If that isn’t a job and economy killer, I am not sure what else could be.

Tim Lyons
Executive director, Subcontractors Association of Hawaii

 

Towill’s design proves its worth

Our private residential harbor here at Villa Lihikai, a gated estate designed and built by legendary Hawaii engineer and surveyor R.M. Towill for his family 55 years ago, survived the tsunami without a scratch, once again showing Kaneohe Bay, protected by its barrier reef, to be the largest, safest moorage in all Hawaii ("Surging waters batter Hawaii harbors," Star-Advertiser, March 11).

Towill built a landform curving out from our 600-foot shoreline and captured a true sand beach as well as protecting a harbor capable of sheltering 50-foot fishing sampans or a large yacht or two or three. During the worst of the tsunami surges, water in our hidden harbor simply rose and fell 18 inches or so repeatedly on 20 minute cycles, much as it did during the tsunami generated by the Chile earthquake a year ago in February.

Fortunately, residents around this largest protected body of water in the entire Hawaiian chain managed to stop plans decades ago that would have made this bay, and not Barbers Point, Oahu’s second great shipping port.

Walter Wright
Kaneohe

 

Sales tax could help float canoe

Some are saying, "Don’t touch my money, but go get funds from the retired state employees, or create new user fees, or raise the price of this or that, or cut it from this special interest group or nonprofit organization."

A bunch of us seniors were brainstorming the subject, and one said don’t pick on any one group, since there will be endless dissatisfaction and nothing will be done. And we need the revenue now.

The consensus among us: a 2 percent state sales tax temporarily for three to four years effective June 1 until this crisis is over. No sales tax would be imposed on food, milk and prescription medicine; and no funds would go to rail, hurricane relief or APEC. The money would be used only to keep our canoe floating.

Donald J. Mack
Aiea

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