Saturday, January 27, 2001
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Posted on: Saturday, January 27, 2001

Letters to the Editor

There’s no reason not to cut tax on food, rent

House Democratic Leader Marcus Oshiro wants us to believe that "shades of gray" justify high taxes (Letters, Jan. 22). He opposes The Advertiser’s attempt to record "in simple terms of black and white" (his words) the Legislature’s desire to end general excise taxes on food and rent.

The facts, however, are simple. Hawaii is one of the few states to tax food bought in stores. We are the only state to tax medical services and rent. These taxes hurt low-income people the most. Those at the bottom spend far more of their income on food, medical services and rent than do wealthy people. Oshiro should favor eliminating these awful taxes, as he and 40 other state House members told The Advertiser they do.

Doing away with the tax on food bought in stores would put $100 million into the pockets of Hawaii’s hard-working people, or about $330 for a family of four. Our citizens need the money and will spend it — and with their spending, our economy will grow. The U.S. economy may be heading into a recession. In Washington, both parties favor tax cuts to head off a recession. Why not tax cuts in Hawaii, too?

We can afford tax cuts (Oshiro suggests otherwise). If the state reduces its payroll by not filling 42 percent of positions that become vacant in a single year, we can pay for a $100 million tax cut. Let’s do it, and do it now.

Galen Fox
House Republican Leader

Hula Bowl blackout was human error’

Last weekend’s television blackout of the sold-out 55th Annual Hula Bowl Maui Senior All-Star Football Classic was described by ESPN as "human error."

Since our move to Maui, we have dedicated ourselves to making this event the best it could be. The last thing we wanted was to have Oahu blacked out. In fact, we confirmed with ESPN and your sports editor that Oahu would see the game live.

History speaks to this point as well. The previous three years, Hula Bowl Maui was shown on Oahu. With all the big-time athletes, coaches of the year, exceptional entertainment, 550-plus hula dancers performing in perfect harmony and five ESPN announcers talking about the game in prime time, it was the perfect television event to be viewed on Oahu.

While ESPN has already sent their apology for their error, we will say again, we are very sorry for this error, as well. Hopefully, Oceanic will find a time slot to show the game soon. It was a winner, judging by all those who participated on and off the field. We send a huge mahalo for all those who assisted in the effort as we look forward to Jan. 19, 2002.

Lenny Klompus, CEO Hula Bowl Maui Senior All-Star Football Classic

Attacks on voucher programs are baseless

The attacks on voucher programs for education are baseless and reactionary. They argue that a voucher program would drain money from the public education system. I believe the opposite is true.

With President Bush’s plan, parents would be able to divert $1,500 toward a private school if a school were under-performing. Hawaii’s public schools currently spend approximately $5,500 per student annually. If a student changed to a private school from a public school under this plan, the public school system would have a net $4,000 savings on that student. How is a $4,000 savings a drain on public schools?

In any voucher program, the system should subsidize families that may not be able to afford a private school education. The amount of the subsidy should be designed to assist families with lower incomes. For example, a high-income family should not be entitled to a voucher at all. However, a family with less income may be able to afford the private education with a $1,500 subsidy. Again, the net savings to the public school system would be $4,000 per student.

I challenge the teachers union and others to explain the flaw in this argument.

Patrick Adams

Fireworks are integral part of the new year

Regarding A. Vinton’s Jan. 23 letter "Fireworks continue to destroy our peace": Many islanders do not agree. I cherish all the New Year’s Eve celebrations I experienced while growing up.

It is sad that people would see New Year’s as an annoyance instead of the celebration of possibilities for the new year. It is exactly that, a celebration. I have since been stationed in Germany and now New Mexico, and during the new year everyone makes it seem to be just another year of going to work and paying the bills.

I love the feeling of being an optimist, always thinking that I can make tomorrow greater than today, next year greater than the last. The New Year’s celebration with the fireworks and families gives me the motivational boost to try to do it better. Like Christmas, it’s important.

Safety rules should be enforced, but to take fireworks away completely would be losing that spirit of aloha that I get every time I get an opportunity to come home.

As far as getting a backbone for those representatives in your area, I would hope that along with preserving our rights and our homes, they would also fight to preserve our spirit.

Angus Adolpho

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