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County must re-evaluate priorities

Our county council approved Bill 2670, which will impose an additional half percent tax on the people of Kauai.

In reality, that will cost you an additional 50 cents with every $100 that you spend. Giving up one beer per day or one cigarette will more than make up for that.

The bill was approved with a vote of 6 to 1 with Council Chair Mel Rapozo the only no vote. I am aware of at least one other councilmember that did not approve of the additional tax but voted yes because he felt it didn’t make any difference. Unfortunately, I think maybe that council person has lost sight of what his job as a councilman is. I was under the impression that he is supposed to represent the people of Kauai and not cave in to his own frustrations.

He may think that his yes vote “didn’t matter,” but I think it does matter, and it matters a great deal. Especially to his constituents who voted for him, particularly because he has said many times that he would not raise taxes on the people of Kauai. I hope he realizes that now.

I’m sure that both he and Mr. Rapozo feel that the amount of revenue our county will collect from that half percent could instead be made up by reducing the extravagance and waste that has hindered our county’s finances for years.

As for the tax itself, personally I wouldn’t have a problem with that additional half percent tax if I thought that 100 percent of the extra revenue would be expended on the repairs and improvements on the highways and bridges on Kauai. But somehow, I have serious doubts about that.

We have to face the reality that Kauai will never recoup the loss of the TAT funds, nor will we ever be a priority for any funding from the state Legislature. Not with the insignificant representation that Kauai County has in that Legislature.

By the way, the GET is collected by the state. So the state tax office will have to calculate Kauai’s portion of the GET that has been collected from businesses and corporations on Kauai. I wonder what percentage of that half percent the state intends to skim off the top as some sort of “administrative fee” before they send the leftover to Kauai County.

If we want our infrastructure to be properly maintained, I think the people of Kauai need to realize that we have to do it by ourselves. But we can only do it with strong leadership. The county’s priorities have to be reevaluated.

More bike lanes and more buses will not resolve any issues if our roads and highways are not adequate and not properly maintained to handle the traffic that we already have. (Have you ever hit a pothole on a bicycle?).

As I stated above, I wouldn’t have a problem with additional taxes if I was assured that 100 percent of it actually went to fixing our roads. However, I don’t think that the GET was the proper source for this increase. An increase in the fuel tax and an increase in registration fees (especially for electric and hybrids) would have been more appropriate.

The little old lady who walks over to Times market once a week shouldn’t be paying for maintaining our roads.

The 9-year-old boy who’s been saving his nickels and dimes to buy a skateboard shouldn’t have to pay for the maintenance of our roads when he buys that skateboard.

It’s simple. The users of the roads should pay for the roads. As the users of the golf course should pay for the maintenance of the golf course.

•••

Larry Arruda is a resident of Kapaa.

3 Comments
  1. Charlie Chimknee December 19, 2017 5:53 am Reply

    Mahalo Mr. Aruda, your article makes perfect sense in every paragraph you wrote. Please contribute more information and your ideas.

    Talking about waste, the other day at one of the KAUAI dumps the county worker was mending his fishing net while it appeared he was on duty. Sometimes there are 2 and 3 county workers sitting down reading the paper while seniors and women are unloading their vehicles at the dumps.

    An idea whose time may have come would be that at the Island dumps and recycle centers that trusted non-violent (or other risk behaviors) prisoners be allowed to help unload vehicles especially for seniors and women and sort recyclables and put them in the bins.

    This would certainly mean prisoners would be paying their debt to society versus playing volleyball at the KCCC.

    Would someone of position please look into this. Too many times the cars and trucks are backed up waiting for single person, seniors or women single handedly unloading much and heavy garbage and/or recycles.

    Charlie


  2. jeffrey kimoto December 19, 2017 10:49 am Reply

    Wonderful perspective and opinion Larry. I agree with you.
    Just like your comment on the golf course to be paid by users, it goes for all the park facilities also. But the county does not charge for park usage, whether it’s soccer, motocross, baseball, or softball. I’m a believer that the people should pay a minimal fee for usage and maintenance of these facilities, and/or to build more park facilities.

    Residents grumble about paying any tax for improvements, but they’re willing to spend excessively on drinking and hosting numerous parties throughout the year. Don’t tell me they don’t have the money.


  3. Sunrise_blue December 19, 2017 6:32 pm Reply

    What was wrong with Bernard p. CARVALHO JR. just digging the ground at the parks? How is the county more efficient with him signing a bill?

    Other voices.


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