RETIREES TARGETED AS DEBT UNCOLLECTED
Sunday's Honolulu Advertiser (April 5) notes that there are businesses and individuals who owe $374.9 million in back taxes to the state and that the Department of Taxation plans to post their names on a new Web site to "shame" them.
Meanwhile, the state administration and the Legislature are looking at various options to make up the shortage in tax revenues rather than having to lay off or furlough workers, reduce their compensation and/or use the federal stimulus money directed to education to make up for the shortfall. In addition, there is a bill pending in the Legislature tacked on to a law to conform Hawai'i Income Tax Law to the Internal Revenue Service Code which will impose the state income tax on employer paid pensions. S.B. 971, SD 2, on taxing retirement income, is intended to further burden retirees on fixed income, rather than go after those individuals and businesses who fail to pay their fair share.
What is wrong with this picture? It is now time for the senior citizens and all retirees to step up and be heard before our Legislature passes a law further reducing our income while accepting a 36 percent pay raise for themselves.Steven E. Vidinha
WHY MANY CHOOSE PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Why is it that the education system has to always take the hit when the state needs money? I am like all other parents who elect to send their children to private schools because we feel that the public education system is not providing a good education for our children. The fact that the education system takes the hit every time the state needs money is the proof.
How can our children learn when the facilities need fixing? Teachers need to be paid well to keep good teachers. Meanwhile I and other parents who send their children to private schools continue to pay for both private and public education, the public schools through taxes.
I would like to see the public school system fixed or the parents who send their children to private schools get a tax break since we have to pay for something that we don't use.
This robbing Peter to pay Paul has got to stop, especially when Peter never gets paid back.Lionel Aguiar
GOVERNOR'S PLAN SENSIBLE, REALISTIC
Appearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Gov. Lingle presented a budget that is both sensible and realistic. It balances the state budget without raising taxes or hurtful layoffs.
Increasing taxes on families and small business during a recession only compounds the pain people are already feeling and makes recovery more difficult.
Pay cuts rather than layoffs for state workers also make sense because layoffs just send people to the unemployment line. Temporary pay cuts are fair, asking all state workers (including the governor and her Cabinet) to help us get through the recession by making sacrifices.
Gov. Lingle has shown responsible leadership in addressing each need for budget reductions; always keeping the state's immediate needs in mind without hurting the opportunity for our economy to recover as soon as possible.Willes K. Lee
Hawai'i Republican Party chairman
MAHALO FOR GETTING THE STORY OUT
My hat is off to Advertiser reporter Suzanne Roig and editor Andy Yamaguchi for getting the word out about the missing bench at Sandy Beach, donated in the memory of our deceased 19-year-old son, Daniel, who passed away from a hiking accident in 2003, and loved that portion of Sandy's.
Daniel and future beach goers thank you all for your efforts.
I would also like to say mahalo to the individual(s) who allowed the bench to be found and restore comfort in the loss of our son.Joyce Cassen Levey
STATE SOCKING IT TO NAVY FOR MISTAKE
I respectfully disagree with your editorial "Navy needs to contribute to reef repair" (April 3).
Did the state worry about coral destruction when they built the 10,000-foot-long reef runway in 1977? Hardly. I'll bet that damaged some coral. And how much money did Uncle Sam contribute to build the runway which has benefited tourism immensely over the years? How about $81 million!
Now, when the Navy makes a mistake, the state of Hawai'i wants to sock it to them with a huge bill. I'm sure there was some damage to the coral, but 10 acres' worth seems a bit inflated!
In fact, this coral cultivation might, over the long term, actually revive the coral environment. And as for the sewage spill, it was a drop in the bucket compared to what the city and county of Honolulu dumped into the Ala Wai Canal. Obviously, the sewage spill posed no long-term threat to the reef.Ray Graham
CHARGING NAVY FOR ACCIDENT DISGRACEFUL
I think it's disgraceful that our Department of Land and Natural Resources wants to charge the Navy for reef damage. I can understand charging those who willfully do so, such as tour boats anchoring at Molokini or tour boats in Kane'ohe Bay clearing a reef for a volleyball court. But do we charge motorists who damage trees, railings or barriers in an accident? And further, if we charge the United States Navy, aren't we, in fact, charging ourselves?Peter Nottage
THINK TWICE ABOUT PENALIZING NAVY
The state may want to think twice about claiming an unreasonable amount from the Navy. After all, the Navy is a large employer and contributes a huge amount to Hawai'i's economy. The grounding was not intentional or grossly negligent; accidents happen.
The Navy should help in repairing the reef but let's not overly penalize them just because the state can't balance the budget.G. A. Pang