Editorials for Saturday — August 02, 2003

• Child tax credit checks

• Pet quarantine


Child tax credit checks

A couple million dollars is headed for the Kaua‘i economy over the next few weeks thanks to advance payment for child tax credits from the federal government.

President George Bush’s hopes to boost the national economy through the infusion of tax return cash. Those receiving the maximum child tax credit will get $400 per eligible child, which reflects the new $1000 per child cap on the child tax credit that begins with the 2003 tax year.

The tax checks are arriving in mailboxes across Kaua‘i at the right time of year, with many families facing expenses for school supplies, tuition charges, new clothes and school uniform purchases and other costs.

Revamping the Internal Revenue Service tax rates for married couples is another change being made this year, which should already be seen in how much is withheld from many paychecks of husbands and wives.

These changes all mean more money back into the local economy, and will give something of a break for local families who face some of the highest prices in the United States for electricity, gasoline, milk and other basic living expenses.

The checks are being mailed out according the last digits in social security numbers of income tax filers, and are going to those families who pay federal income taxes.

This boost to families will hopefully not be at the expense of a greater federal deficit in the long run. Time will tell.


Pet quarantine

The liberalizing of the state’s pet quarantine law is now making it much less of an ordeal for those who want to bring a dog or cat from the Mainland to Hawai‘i.

A report just released by the state shows that the reformed program is working.

More than half the pets arriving in Hawai‘i in the first month of eased quarantine rules were released in five days or less, the state reported Friday.

Many animals being brought into Hawai‘i, mostly through the Honolulu International Airport, were given to their owners directly upon arrival.

The program began on June 30. The former law had pets in quarantine for at least a month, often longer.

These common sense changes to state laws are an example of how change can make life easier and less expensive for Hawai‘i residents. The cost of placing a pet in quarantine was exorbitant in the past, now it is almost a none item.

The pet quarantine changes are just one example of what reform to state government can accomplish. This change will probably save Hawai‘i residents hundreds of thousands of dollars this year, not to mention weeks of worry and trouble over having a pet in quarantine. A close look at many functions of state government needs to be done to see what’s waste and what’s worthwhile. If the quarantine system is just the beginning, there’s great savings ahead for taxpayers.

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