Letters for Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

• TAT distribution unfair • Investigate vaccine safety

TAT distribution unfair

I want to thank the Garden Island for covering the Hawaii State Association of Counties’ (HSAC) bills being submitted during the upcoming legislative session.

These measures are meant to maximize the effectiveness and performance of our four county governments (Kauai, Honolulu, Maui and Hawaii) improve the quality of life of our residents and visitors.

I did want to clarify one bill that HSAC is proposing regarding a more equitable distribution of the transient accommodations tax (state hotel tax) between the state and counties.

The state Legislature convened a State-County-Private working group to review and recommend what would be a fair distribution between the state and counties. That group worked for almost 2 year and upon completion, recommended a fair 55-45 percent split between the state and counties. The Legislature this past session, however, decided not to use the working group’s recommendation and instead settled for an arbitrary cap of $103 million for all the counties. HSAC’s bill mirrors that recommendation.

We want the public to understand that each year the counties don’t receive its fair share of the TAT, the residents are burdened by paying for expenses that visitors should be paying for. These include operational costs for county-maintained services like water and sewer service; county police, fire and ocean safety protection; development and upkeep of most roads; and park development and maintenance, all which have increased dramatically.

The four counties will continue to work with state lawmakers in hopefully lifting the cap and supporting our bill’s fair formula for the distribution of TAT.

Mel Rapozo, Secretary, HSAC

Investigate vaccine safety

“All the things that I do are bent on forcing this (vaccine) debate out into the open — because once the science is in the open, the CDC’s position is so fragile, it’s an edifice of fraud, fraud stacked upon fraud, so high and so wobbly, that even a slight breeze of public scrutiny will topple it.” — Environmental Attorney Robert Kennedy, Jr.

The above quote indicates Kennedy, appointed by President Trump to head up a task force investigating vaccine safety, may investigate much more than the use of mercury in vaccines.

We need real investigation, not concealment. The CDC claims 36,000 people a year die of flu. In reality the number was 18. Still need a flu shot?

Ray Songtree, Hanalei

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