Obama failed to focus on jobs
President Barack Obama has become just another politician.
Local people who want to deify him should read Thomas Friedman’s column ("Politicians work more on getting re-elected than on trying to fix the country," Star-Advertiser, June 24).
I don’t often agree with Friedman, but he is right on the money. If Obama and the Democrats had not rushed through a piecemeal economic stimulus so they could concentrate on their health care reform plan before midterm elections, they would be in far better shape, as they could take credit for real jobs growth.
I had high hopes for Obama, but he turned out to be just another politician.
Robin R. Ching
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Rail project will benefit just a few
Gov. Neil Abercrombie spoke recently about priorities, but it rang kind of hollow.
If someone wrote us a check for $5 billion to spend over the next five years to make Hawaii a better place, would the first thing on our priority list be rail transit for Leeward Oahu?
Rail transit will create relatively few jobs for a relatively small group of people in construction, for a relatively short time, for the benefit of relatively few people in one relatively small area.
Even without federal money, there is still a couple of billion dollars needed to completely revamp our schools, fix our roads or address other looming long-term problems.
These are with us, in many cases, because prior administrations have deferred their funding.
Now we are going to defer them again to fund a questionable rail transit project.
Is the Leeward-Honolulu commute the most pressing problem for Hawaii?
Tax change will hurt businesses
A little-covered event occurred on June 9 that will have a big impact on Hawaii businesses that provide products to the military and other U.S. government groups.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law Senate Bill 754, which temporarily suspends the exemption from the general excise tax of sales to the U.S. government, which includes the commissaries and PXs.
Without this exemption, wholesalers, for example, will be subject to a 4 percent general excise tax on their sales to the U.S. government.
This will increase costs significantly to any vendor who provides these products as well as hurt Hawaii’s businesses.
Hawaii businesses may be unable to pass all of these costs to the military and other government groups, which will, in turn, force them to cut back on hiring and expenditures.
There is a grandfathering provision in the law which will allow the exemption to continue. But this requires contracts to be entered into prior to July 1, 2011.
Who will pay for schools, parks?
On June 22, D.R. Horton-Schuler Division put on an informative presentation to the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board and community concerning its prospective development in Kapolei.
The presentation also included land being set aside for 20 mini neighborhood parks and one district park, as well as three elementary schools, one middle school and one high school.
No one representing either the state or the city was there to explain how or when these parks and schools would be built and where the money was coming from to build and maintain them. The impact fees paid by the developer won’t meet the financial burden placed upon the city and state to build and maintain these facilities.
The schools and parks are an integral part of the total project and, if not built along with housing, will create major problems in an area that already has problems with overcrowding in their schools and parks.
I hope that whatever government entity is responsible for approving this project will be asking the questions stated above before this project is started.
Lottery would be foot in the door
The letter about lotteries as a voluntary tax sounded good ("Lottery would be voluntary tax," Star-Advertiser, Letters, June 25).
One dollar a ticket. People desperate for money could well go broke. Because tickets are cheap, one could keep buying and soon Mom would be serving boiled lottery tickets for dinner.
Let’s remember the windfall to the state won’t be that great, especially after a few years when the social costs kick in.
Rarely does gambling, once introduced, stay only with lotteries. When the income becomes less, the push for other forms of gambling, like casinos and slot machines, are allowed.
Try to imagine Waikiki full of casinos and slots.
Secretary, Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling,