Profits drive pay disparity
After reading the letter by Roland Clements ("Government workers are not to blame," Letters, Star-Advertiser, April 7), I am compelled to add to his support of these middle-class workers.
The reason public employees have better benefit packages than private-sector employees is because the monies used to fund these benefits do not go pay for bonuses to CEOs and overpaid managers.
Remember, privatization means profits, and a large part of these profits go to fund bonuses for upper management and the campaign coffers of those politicians who support them.
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HGEA deal is bad policy
Now we learn that the Abercrombie-Hawaii Government Employees Association deal contains a "favored nation" clause. What is that?
Plainly put, it means that if any other union negotiates higher pay rates or additional benefits, then HGEA automatically gets the same increases.
This means that we have no idea how much the HGEA union deal will cost. And this means that the Legislature cannot pass a balanced budget with those costs still to be determined in negotiations with the United Public Workers and the Hawaii State Teachers Association.
"Favored nation" clauses in private contracts have been legally challenged as anti-competitive and a type of informal collusion. It is bad policy to allow this type of language to creep into our collective bargaining agreements.
Rep. Cynthia Thielen
Kaneohe Bay, Kailua
Don’t bail out boat losses
The damage done by the tsunami on March 11 was tragic. But after reading the article about lack of aid for boaters ("Boaters bemoan lack of aid," Star-Advertiser, April 8), I have trouble understanding what kind of help some of these people want. Hawaii has established plans for an incoming tsunami. An informed and responsible boat owner would have taken his boat out to sea or inland to a safe place before the tsunami arrived.
For those who did not act on this, I hope you are not looking for a handout. A low-interest loan to help with boat losses, damages and cleanup seems reasonable. An owner without insurance doesn’t mean we the taxpayers should be footing the bill. We need to take personal responsibility for our choices.
HEI should hire locally
I am a shareholder in Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. and was asked to ratify the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which is no longer in Hawaii, as its auditors.
Why doesn’t HEI, a Hawaii company with many local shareholders and almost all local customers, use a national CPA firm with a local presence such as KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young or Grant Thornton and keep the audit fees in Hawaii? I expect the fees could be close to $2 million per year.
HEI should spend the $2 million here so that permanent local jobs can be created.
Raise taxes or cut services
Richard Borreca reports that the Public Policy Polling survey put Gov. Neil Abercrombie at a low 48 percent approval rate ("Maybe he deserves more time, but so far Abercrombie is tanking," On Politics, Star-Advertiser, April 8). This result, unfortunately, is not surprising, given the governor’s attempt to raise taxes.
What many people apparently are unable to understand is that government services must be paid for. If the government doesn’t have the tax revenue to do this, it must borrow the money, which must be repaid at a steep interest rate.
If you don’t pay the tax, you must cut the service; if you want the service, you must pay the tax. It doesn’t work both ways.
Stuart N. Taba
Addiction is progressive
After working in the addiction treatment field for more than 25 years, certain factors became apparent. Addiction is progressive. Every alcoholic or addict I worked with started out with marijuana and alcohol. When those stopped working, they moved to other drugs. Addicts use whatever it takes to feel better, whether it is alcohol, drugs, food or gambling.
Those who want marijuana legalized should be careful of what they wish for. Pay attention to addiction statistics. Do we want more addiction problems, whether alcohol or drugs or gambling, to increase in our state? Addicts need money to support their addictions, and if they don’t have it, they will find illegal ways to fund their addictions.
GOP posturing destructive
The GOP attack on Obamacare is really a rhetorical diversion from its slavish support for big business. What it still has failed to deliver on is its claim that giving big business, and the rich in general, massive tax cuts would create jobs, even though it boosts the deficit enormously.
Those Bush tax cuts failed to do so before the current administration extended them, and they have failed to do so since that shameless giveaway.
The unemployment rate is still nearly 9 percent, and people continue to lose their homes. If the GOP really wants public support, it needs to stop its destructive symbolic posturing and deliver on its promises to help the American people in this continuing crisis.