Cut state deficit in 7 easy steps
As an independent businessman who has had to make a living on my own financial wits, here is what I would advise the governor and mayor:
» Increase the general excise tax to the neighbor islands to 4.5 percent. Oahu has been able to tolerate it; so can the neighbor islands.
» Take the 0.5 percentage point of GET revenue from Honolulu and give the future revenues to the state.
» Kill, or at least postpone, the rail system.
» Let the city keep the rail revenues generated so far and apply it to the sewer system. This will keep Oahu residents’ sewer bill from rising astronomically.
» Decrease public workers salaries by 5 percent. The private sector has already done at least this much.
» Adjust the retirement program for future public employees from a defined benefit plan to a mutual investment, just like 95 percent of the private sector.
» Freeze expenditures to the 2010 level. How can we increase spending when we already have a deficit?
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Seniority at risk in isle delegation
Hawaii owes a huge debt of gratitude to U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka for his many years of service to us.
Hawaii has benefited also from the seniority of Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, with the funding of many projects and programs as a result.
Now we will have a very junior legislative team in place, with the exception of Inouye. Mazie Hirono has only four years’ seniority, and Colleen Hanabusa has less than a year. And, with Inouye approaching his 86th birthday, retirement may be becoming more and more attractive to him; when he departs, Hawaii will suffer for years from a lack of seniority.
I urge our two members of the House of Representatives to not run for the opening in the Senate. Hawaii needs to build up some seniority in Congress.
It’s way past time for clean energy
Isn’t it time? Really. Isn’t it way past time?
How many more coal mining-related deaths, oil rig fatalities, potential meltdown catastrophes from so-called "safe" energy sources are we willing to weather? Hasn’t history proved that so-called "cheap" energy is not cheap at all?
Isn’t it time to fully embrace clean energy sources in Hawaii?
It is. Support clean energy legislation before lawmakers now. It’s time.
Letter on budget was cheap shot
Peter Knerr’s implication that those advocating austerity and spending cuts would somehow at once advocate irresponsible budget allocation is off the mark ("Weather Service earned its keep," Star-Advertiser, Letters, March 15).
Spending cuts must be simultaneously considered if tax increases are to be implemented to address our fiscal woes. This means almost across-the-board consideration of spending and waste reduction, from duplicative governmental departments and agencies to recognition of those possibly over-funded. Agencies faced with cutbacks are going to have to prioritize.
Just because the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center falls under the umbrella of the National Weather Service does not mean that the latter will neglect the former in this process.
It is an irresponsible, almost transparently desperate measure to suggest so in order to deflect attention away from irresponsible spending.
Higher golf fee a big hit to seniors
The increase in golf fees reported for seniors 65 and older using a monthly card at municipal golf courses was misleading.
Presently, the cost for senior monthly card is $45. The proposed cost will be raised to $80, a 78 percent increase.
Isn’t a 78 percent increase for senior monthly card holders way too large?