The hundreds of thousands of Hawaii workers who were forced to go on unemployment insurance because of COVID-19 should not have to pay the required state income tax. To do so would be adding insult to injury, especially after the many months of frustration workers faced trying to get their benefits.
Senate Bill 614 would lift the tax burden between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. The checks of workers on unemployment were a lot smaller than usual, and because they needed everything to support their families, many did not deduct for taxes.
With two Senate hearings, nearly 165 testimonies were heard with only two in opposition. Unions, the Hawaii Tax Foundation and even Mufi Hannemann of the Hawaii Tourism Lodging Association support this effort.
Tourist celebrations favored over weddings
Saturday’s article gloriously celebrated the return of the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s luau for 150 guests (“Moving forward,” Star-Advertiser, March 13). Sea Life Park’s Luau can have 250 people. Hooray for the tourist experience!
Yet my daughter’s wedding in August (which was delayed for over a year) is still limited to 10 people, of which five (photographer, planner, caterer, bartender and officiant) are included. That leaves room for five guests.
Mayor Rick Blandgiardi said that weddings (unlike funerals) “are celebratory, and a lot of other things that right now, it’s just a bridge too far” (“Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi allows bars to reopen, lifts attendance limit for funerals,” Star-Advertiser, Top News, March 11).
So how come tourist luaus are allowed (aren’t they celebratory?) and weddings are not? Clearly this ruling benefits the pockets of the tourism industry, yet struggling local wedding vendors are being penalized and may never economically recover. I guess we will be sending out invitations to my daughter’s “luau” where she’ll be wearing her white-beaded holuku!
Protect our children from tobacco industry
As a parent representative at Waipahu High School, I learned that nearly 1 in 3 high schoolers have used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days and nearly 8% vape every day.
That should put fear into all parents’ hearts. Vaping devices look like lipstick containers, USB drives or other everyday objects, making them easy to hide from parents and teachers.
The state Department of Health’s Youth Risk Behavior study showed that 82% of kids who vape start with a flavored product, with innocuous names like Vanilla Cupcake and cool mentholated flavors like Icy Mango.
No parent can singlehandedly fight the millions of dollars spent by the tobacco industry to hook our kids. We need help. We need help from our legislators to support Senate Bill 1147 and take a comprehensive approach to stop the youth vaping crisis. Our keiki deserve an addiction-free future.
ID required for many things; why not voting?
Responding to those who claim “a certain party” is attempting to restrict the votes of citizens (“Republicans trying to deny right to vote,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, March 14): May we agree upfront that votes must arrive from legal citizens only?
Secondly, there can be no logical argument that requiring a government-issued photo ID to verify identity when voting is somehow voter suppression. None.
The requirement to obtain ID is the same for each and every citizen. ID is required for several incidences of daily living. An ID that shows you are a legal resident will be no different and would help ensure voting is lawful, something that I would think those across all aisles would appreciate.
I amend the comment, “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat,” to “always be legal.”
Ninole, Hawaii island
Most of Rescue Plan isn’t for COVID-19 relief
There has been criticism of the Republican opposition to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Democrats and liberal media would have you believe that Republicans do not want to help struggling Americans.
However, if one takes the time to learn all the facts, a much different picture emerges. The Republicans are not against helping citizens who have been hurt by the pandemic. Rather, they are against all the “pork” that also is in the bill. Less than 10% of the money goes directly to COVID-related relief. Billions of dollars will go to organizations and companies not affected by COVID-19, as well as to Democratic pet projects.
Before forming an opinion or passing judgment, one should hear both sides of an issue first. This is only fair.
Democrats offer help, Republicans don’t
The U.S. has been hit hard by COVID. We can thank President Joe Biden and the Democratic caucus for passing the American Rescue Plan. Let us remember two years from now that when America needed a hand up, Republicans were only willing to offer a finger.
Ige should save Hawaii’s own Love’s Bakery
Love’s Bakery is so much of Hawaii; everyone I know depends on its affordable products. When people are low on money, as long as they have a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly or tuna, they can feed the whole family. Gov. David Ige should step in and save Love’s Bakery; then the majority of people would see him in a more favorable light.
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