Enforce state laws against illegal rentals
Illegal rentals by mainland owners of Hawaii vacation properties are costing the state millions of dollars a year in lost tax revenues.
Leveraging the Internet, a large number of out-of-state Hawaii property owners rent their homes without the appropriate on-island representation in direct violation of Hawaii state laws HRS 521 and HRS 467. Monies earned from this out-of-state activity are invisible to state tax authorities. The state tragically misses out on its fair share of general excise tax (GET) income and our transient accommodations tax (TAT) from the rentals — to the tune of 13.4 percent.
Without paying taxes, mainland property owners often pass on their untaxed saving to customers, lowering rental prices and unfairly competing with those of us in Hawaii who pay our fair share of GET and TAT taxes.
We need to enforce our laws to protect our people and industry.
Lodging providers throughout Hawaii are working together to help state officials identify, address and resolve this important issue.
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Foreclosure crisis not going away soon
The commentary ("Mortgage legislation should address only ‘bad actor’ lenders," Island Voices, Star-Advertiser, April 28) no doubt intended to advance public debate by crystallizing our understanding of proposed legislation to selectively address "bad actor" mortgage lenders. But even if their preferred legislation is enacted and the local foreclosure process is "allowed to work itself out in a fair and equitable manner," it will not, as they mistakenly suggest, permit "our economy (to) return to full health."
The epic foreclosure crisis is not the cause but rather an effect of what is still so wrong with housing in much of America. The current level of home prices remains artificially high. Until a bottoming out of pricing occurs — driven by market forces in an orderly but more expedited manner than we currently see — Hawaii can enact and implement the wisest form of mortgage legislation imaginable and we will still see painful relocations for many years to come.
David J. Kuchenbecker
Don’t trim DARE; get rid of it completely
I was happy to hear that the so-called Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (DARE) is to be scaled back significantly, but disappointed to learn that it was continuing at all.
DARE has been the subject of numerous academic studies over the last 20 years and has been found to be completely ineffective by virtually all of them. Several actually found that DARE was counter-productive.
In addition, the surgeon general and the National Institute of Justice, among others, have declared DARE to be ineffective.
It is incomprehensible to me that we would continue to waste scarce resources — money and police officers — on the discredited DARE program when there are many other school- and community-based substance abuse prevention programs of proven effectiveness that could be making a real difference to at-risk kids and the larger community.
Army choppers are sound of freedom
In regard to the article, "More Army training means increase in chopper noise," (Star-Advertiser, April 30):
I live in an apartment along the H-1 where formations of Army helicopters often fly by. Hundreds of feet off the ground, the noise is barely a distraction and lasts for barely a minute.
Dealing with complaints and finding alternate routes only creates more inconveniences for everyone involved, civilian and military alike. Even if the routes were changed, new problems are inevitable. Compared to the oppression faced by many across the world, is the noise so bad that it warrants all this attention? I should hope not.
Next time you hear a chopper, be glad you are fortunate enough to hear the sound of freedom. It is a sound that many long to hear.
Welfare should be for the truly needy
Nicole Maryott hits the proverbial nail on its head with her premise that the problem with our burdensome system of entitlements rests on the difference between assistance and dependency ("State encourages cycle of dependency," Letters, Star-Advertiser, April 30).
At a time when we all need to address economic distress and headlines referring to our Legislature approving measures entailing additional spending, we hear all too often of calls for austerity met with cries in defense of starving orphans.
Maryott has stated with marvelous simplicity a solution to our woes that all sides of the discussion must heed: There are those among us who through no fault of their own actually need assistance, and those who have become dependent on government aid.
Maintain programs for the former and without hesitation or misplaced pity eliminate programs for the latter.