Increased tax revenues should go for roads
Less than a week after passing the GET increase that was supposed to be dedicated to repairing our dismally failing roads, the foxes are already looking for ways to raid the henhouse. While I am sure County Councilmember Derek Kawakami’s intentions were heartfelt in trying to divert some of these funds to low-income housing, the taxpayers of this island are sick of the political “bait-and-switch” tactics used to justify these tax increases. To further add salt to the wound, they then vote to reduce the vehicle weight tax and fuel tax, whose funds were also supposed to be used for highway repairs and improvements.
Even these “dedicated” funds seem to find other homes than in the highway budget. This simply switches the burden of cost from those who use the roads to all residents. Add one tax and reduce another? Really makes little sense. If these taxes were insufficient to repair our roads before, why reduce this source of income? His reasoning that the increase will bring in $25 million, and the highway fund is at $16 million, so there is a surplus, is at best illogical, bordering on just plain silly. Until the $100-million-plus backlog of repairs is complete, there is no such thing as “surplus” funds to dedicate to these repairs.
Every dollar taken in from the GET increase, weight tax and fuel tax should be placed in a real, dedicated highway fund until the backlog of repairs and upgrades to ease our horrible traffic issues are completed. Then, and only then, should the council even consider alternative uses for these funds.
It is time our elected officials address the traffic issues and poor roads in a committed way and stop kicking the can down the road. I applaud the other councilmembers for slapping the fox on the nose and telling him to leave the hens alone.
Barry Dittler, Wailua
Be thankful for common gifts
I want to thank the editors for the wonderful cartoon in the Forum, Dec. 18: How to behave like a human being.
As an atheist I am constantly filled with the wonder of being human. Our art, our dance, our music. Our literature, poetry, drama. Our creative, imaginative and wonderful minds. Our love. Our joy. Our passion.
Our great fortune to having lived as human beings on this incredibly beautiful planet.
I think if we would take a brief moment — a breath of sweet air, a cup of fresh water, a taste of good food — and be thankful for these treasures and constantly aware that all of us — all of us — whatever creed, race or nationality, whatever gender, whatever age, whatever social or economic status we hold, we are kin.
I think, if every human being on this planet would remind himself/herself — every day — of our gifts in common, 90 percent of our conflicts would wither and die like a trash of stink weeds in a healthy green meadow.
Have a Cool Yule from my house to yours.
Bettejo Dux, Kalaheo