Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022 |
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• Vote common sense, not loyalty
• Taxes, taxes and more taxes
Vote common sense, not loyalty
Religion and politics, those are the two subjects guaranteed to stir up a debate, huh?
We as a community face challenges of epic proportions, so what do we do? We can sit around and grumble all day, but that won’t solve anything.
Are you planning on voting? Yes, no? Why not? Not registered? Well if you’ve had the opportunity to do so and didn’t bother, then you no can grumble about what our elected officials are doing, right? I hear people complaining all the time. When asked if they plan on voting more often than not I hear “Nah, no matta anyway.”
Yes, it does matter. I voted in the primary and it took less than a half-hour of my time to get it done.
What is your voice worth? Look at how close some of the results in the primary were. Right now I’m very concerned about the race for the top job in our community. And, no, my candidate of choice did not get in the final race, but that’s beside the point. On one hand we have a candidate who says he will “lead” us to a better Kaua‘i, and on the other we have a candidate who has held this position before. We all know who I’m referring to anyway.
Our current situation is pretty bleak right now and we need to make changes right now. I do not think that this is a good time or enough time for “on-the-job” training to learn the ins and outs on running a complex community that is looking down the throat of an economic monster. A mayor who is new to the job will need precious time to figure out what to do. Time we don’t have. We are already behind the eight ball; we need to figure out a game plan today not tomorrow.
So, how will you vote? It’s your choice. But this time it should be common sense, not a sense of loyalty as the driving force behind your decision. That’s just my 2 cents worth (value after the bailout).
• Stephen Shioi, Kapa‘a
Taxes, taxes and more taxes
The American public, or at least the ones who actually vote, are being blind-sided once again. From the very top position of this great nation to the very bottom of the political ladder, all the politicians, even the ones who claim to “care” and “want to help,” seem to either miss the real point or they pretend not to realize what the real point is. From the mouths of every one of them running for office, sooner or later, comes the word “taxes.” They talk about cutting taxes here, and cutting taxes there.
One of our candidates for president of the United States claims that he will not increase taxes for anyone earning less than $250,000 per year. To me, that means that he will increase taxes for anyone earning more than $250,000 per year.
When I think about who those unfortunate people are, I am sure that the vast majority of them are in top positions for corporations that are somehow connected to businesses that provide services or products. Services or products that we less fortunate ones that earn less than $250,000 per year somehow have a need for. Guess who pays the increase in their taxes?
This is always the case. It’s a “trickle-down” effect.
Even the Ohana Amendment, which the majority of those who did vote here on Kaua‘i voted for, was an example of a “trickle-down effect.” The Ohana Amendment would give a property tax break to property owners whose property was their primary residence. Now that would be great if the county would, at the same time, reduce their expenditures by that same amount. But instead, that “decrease” in revenue for the county is made up for by increasing the property taxes of others. And in the case of the Ohana Amendment, that would have included rental homes, renters who can’t even afford to buy their own homes would be burdened with rent increases to cover the increase in property taxes that their landlord must now pay. It would have resulted in an increase in property taxes to the commercial properties on Kaua‘i and therefore, the price of their products or services that we all use would increase to cover the increase in their taxes. Again, guess who would be paying the tax increase.
Even the “combat veterans property tax exemption” is an example of this. I’m sure I speak for all combat veterans when I say that was very much appreciated. However, I do realize that that decrease in the county’s revenue had to be passed on to someone else as property tax increases because I never heard any discussion of decreasing any expenditure by the county to compensate for that decrease in revenues.
The truth of the matter is, any tax decrease or exemption for anyone always results in no more than a shift of the tax burden.
The only case of tax cuts that was really a tax cut that I can recall in my lifetime, so far, was the Jarvis-Gann initiative in California. Otherwise known as “Proposition 13.”
Proposition 13 was a state amendment in California passed by the voters in 1978. It froze the assessed values of all real property in the state to the 1975-76 assessments. All 58 counties in California had previously had their own method of setting their tax rates based on their desired budget. The same as it is today here in Hawai‘i.
I guess what I’m trying to say is the real point is that our governments — federal, state, county and city — must start looking at ways to reduce their expenditures. Isn’t that what we are all doing in our personal lives in these difficult economic times? Wouldn’t it be nice if whenever we wanted something we could just go to someone else to get the funds that we wanted? We are all looking for ways to save and reduce our expenditures. I think it is way past time for all governments and agencies to tighten up their belts and start doing the same.
Maybe it’s time for a “Proposition 13” here in Hawai‘i.
I will close this letter with an excerpt from the state of Hawai‘i Constitution:
“We, the people of Hawai‘i, grateful for Divine Guidance, and mindful of our Hawaiian heritage and uniqueness as an island State, dedicate our efforts to fulfill the philosophy decreed by the Hawai‘i state motto, ‘Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono.’
“We reserve the right to control our destiny, to nurture the integrity of our people and culture, and to preserve the quality of life that we desire.”
• Larry Arruda, Lihu‘e
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