GAMBLING WON'T SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS
How can our legislators raise the excise tax without objection from our citizens? According to the writer from Moloka'i (Letters, June 10), they just need to put in a lottery and use the revenue to augment funds for education. What is the problem?
For one thing, Hawai'i wouldn't even get all the money raised the way we do with the regular tax. The gambling company hired to set up the lottery and collect the money would keep a fair amount of the profits.
It would also hurt the poor people the most. You can imagine that those in the most dreadful poverty will be tempted to use food or medicine money to buy lottery tickets in the hope of winning enough to get them out of their misery.
In fairness, the Moloka'i writer didn't call putting in a lottery an increase in the excise tax, but that's what it would amount to.
It is a regressive tax, which means that the poor and middle class pay a larger percentage of their income on it than rich people do.
Our legislators understand this. They deserve a lot of credit.
The only way to solve the problem of our government's deficit is to cut services or raise taxes.
Alice D. Fisher | Honolulu
GOOD FOR TOURISTS, GOOD FOR SCHOOLS
Tourists are so lucky to visit Hawai'i and have many friends and relatives that expect them to bring back a souvenir for them. With the restrictions on luggage while traveling, the smaller the gift, the better.
If the lottery were legalized in Hawai'i, tourists could bring home lottery tickets as gifts and even stipulate to their friends and relatives that should they be given the winning "Hawai'i Lottery Ticket," they agree to split the winnings with the bearer or Hawai'i visitor.
This would be such an easy and inexpensive way for tourists to fulfill their promise to bring a souvenir home and also help our public schools, as long as legislators do not steal these proceeds in another one of their bait-and-switch programs, i.e., the "Hurricane Fund."
Emmanuel Chen | Honolulu
BRING PITTS BACK TO PRINT INSTEAD
Victor Davis Hanson is a brilliant historian. His book, "Carnage and Culture," is a very insightful look into civilizations past. However, I think he needs the cushion of decades before he starts analyzing anything. His commentaries flogging the Obama administration are much too shrill and he keeps repeating himself from column to column. Please bring back Leonard Pitts in the print edition — he is a voice deserving of attention.
Georgette Canon | Honolulu
PRIVATE SECTOR ALREADY TOOK A HIT
Re: Response to Gregory Mishima (Letters, June 22):
I don't think Mr. Mishima realizes that state workers are only now being asked to have their hours cut and their pay reduced. This is something that we in the private sector have had to deal with for the past 18 months or so.
Just look around — low hotel occupancy rates mean that fewer service hours are needed by the hotel staff, which translates into reduced employee pay and perhaps furloughs. There is not as much foot traffic in Waikiki as there used to be.
The employees at Compadres and the E&O Trading Co. received their furloughs and a 100 percent pay cut when these two restaurants were forced to close, in part, by the state's faltering economy, earlier this year.
Home and car sales are down and many businesses have been forced to close their doors. This downturn in the economy means not only pay cuts and layoffs in the private sector but also reduced tax revenue, the source of a state worker's paycheck.
So while state workers are only now being asked to bite the bullet, the private sector did that months ago.
Nicholas Yee | Kapolei
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO PICK UP YOUR TRASH?
Terminal laziness has finally become an epidemic on O'ahu. Recent complaints, including a June 23 letter, lament the fact that there were not enough trash receptacles on the beaches of Waimanalo and Bellows to accommodate the public. What is the reason that people cannot carry their trash home to dispose of like other household rubbish?
The boating public, fishermen and notably those who visit the Sandbar in Kane'ohe Bay do, in fact, create a lot of 'opala, beverage cans, wrappers and other stuff. We, the boaters, crush the cans, smash the cardboard flat, collect bottle caps, paper, rubbish, etc., and carry it away, whether it be to a pierside dumpster or our own home site.
You complain but do little to help yourselves. Do you want the Marines to come in on Monday and clean up your mess? They are busy enough in Asia and do not need your whining. Help yourself, help your neighbors, and take responsibility for your actions.
Spotswood Robertson | Kailua
WELCOME TO THE BUSINESS MINEFIELD
Much Aloha to Shai Agassi and Better Place Hawaii Inc. for bringing a new transportation business to Hawai'i. It's wonderful to see a rational plan involving electric cars and to be on the forefront of this better, cleaner mode of getting around.
But Shai better watch out. The last "transportation partnership" with Hawai'i is in bankruptcy trying to give away their ferries. I hope Better Place gets its environmental impact act together. Who knows what complaints will arise? Maybe that electric cars cause increased oil use (since our electric grid is powered by oil), or spent-battery issues, and what about the threat of silent cars to pedestrians?
Welcome to our business minefield, Mr. Agassi! I hope you are successful getting through it.
Ron Dennis | Kailua