I see that the state of Hawaii may be in for a big windfall from additional tax collections (“Hawaii government might collect an additional $74M in taxes,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 10).
I have a unique suggestion: Give it back to the taxpayers. Legislators are already salivating at the prospect of more money to fund more new programs. House Finance chairwoman Sylvia Luke says that the $74 million will help fund a package of initiatives. The problem with that is once you start new programs that are said to improve the cost-of-living crisis facing the islands, you have to fund them year after year, which adds to the cost of government.
It would seem easier to just give taxpayers a chance to use the money to improve their own quality of life. We know exactly where we need to spend the money to help ourselves.
Property tax reform requires both city, state
Developer Peter Savio makes the point that Hawaii’s low property taxes contribute to the housing shortage by attracting out-of-state investors who can outbid local residents. This is probably true.
The solution is not so simple. Property taxes here are low because unlike other states, the public schools here are funded by the state government, which relies on the income tax and the excise tax. The property tax is reserved for the county governments, which are always under pressure to keep taxes low.
To correct this situation, a major shift in taxing power between the state and counties would be needed so that an increase in property taxes could be offset by a decrease in other taxes as appropriate. Also, local residents could be shielded through the exemption for owner occupants.
That needed reform would be difficult, but not impossible.
Carl H. Zimmerman
‘Back in the Day’ photo evokes isles’ positives
I just wanted to share a “nice letter” for a change. Particularly since we’ve been wrought with violence, death and despair on our headlines recently.
I love the “Back in the Day” photo on the second page of the newspaper. Keeping the photo black and white, regardless as to when it was taken, adds to the reminiscent quality of the photo. And considering the headlines as of late, it is a positive perspective of our past lives in Hawaii.
Mahalo nui loa, Star-Advertiser, for this great feature. Keep up the good work.
Ditch Leahi Beach Park fence before mishap
As a former vice chairman of the Board of Parks and Recreation of Honolulu, for both the Carlisle and Caldwell administrations, the city Parks and Recreation Department’s puzzling decision to put fences on legal public walkways high above rocky beach shorelines is truly alarming.
Just one fall off the walkway fence onto the rocky shoreline could cripple a person for life and bring a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the city, and yes, us taxpayers.
While our roads, sewers and water mains are failing daily, we sure don’t need the added burden of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit just waiting to happen.
Remove the Leahi Beach Park fence now.
Cannabis has benefits, despite what feds say
It’s time for “we the people” to take greater charge of our health, safety and well-being. There’s a long-standing, inexcusable health crisis in our islands and cannabis hemp nutrition, preventive remedies, medicines and sacraments can play a much larger part going forward.
The U.S. government still classifies “marihuana” as Schedule 1, a most dangerous substance having “no recognized medical use in treatment.” It is not to be believed. Cannabis is one of the most thoroughly studied plants on Earth.
Eating fresh, fertile, organic cannabis hemp seeds, and juicing the fresh, raw leaves and flowers are some of the most effective ways of reaching homeostasis, or optimum well-being.
Promote better knowledge of, and full and free access to, cannabis hemp and all of its beneficial components and products now. Greater health, wealth, happiness, holiness and sanity will soon prevail, in just 120 days from planting seeds to harvest.
THC Ministry, Hilo
Rich called ‘eccentric,’ poor are ‘mentally ill’
In reporting the tragedy of the Hibiscus Drive assault and arson that took the lives of Lois Kiehl Cain; Jerry Hanel, her maintenance man/tenant; and police officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama, your article describes Cain’s behavior, including her tendency to bring unfortunate, and often desperate, people to live in her home as “quirky” and “eccentric” — and the violent Hanel as mentally ill.
Though to a lesser degree, entrusting a key to a dangerous tenant who threatened to burn down a house with a cache of guns under the bed is a sign of mental instability as well.
The difference is that the wealthy are regarded as “eccentric” while the poor are “mentally ill.”
City’s traffic ideas just don’t work for Honolulu
The city’s idea for a traffic-congestion tax is with little insight. Yes, other cities do have this (e.g., London) but they also have an efficient alternative transportation system that includes buses, rail and subway.
In Honolulu we have one main road; much of the traffic I’ve noticed is workers and students of private schools and colleges within a 5-mile radius.
Want to reduce congestion?
Then don’t allow developers exemptions from height and density restrictions, which by itself increases congestion.
Our roads are horrendous. Instead of repaving with quality materials it appears we do it on the cheap, then wonder two to three years later why we have major potholes.
Instead of an additional weight tax of $25 to cover abandoned vehicles, charge the person who last owned the vehicle. VIN numbers are a great way to identify the owner. Instead the city wants to add another tax for those of us who are law-abiding.