Letter for Monday, Feb. 6, 2017

• Golf course subsidy a good thing

Golf course subsidy a good thing

The average Social Security retirement benefit paid in 2016 was $1,341 ($2,212 for a retired couple). Deduct Kauai housing and food, and there’s not much left for anything else.

Robert Warren (TGI, Feb. 1) objects to the county’s “subsidizing” the Wailua Golf Course; he argues for higher fees, saying county money shouldn’t be spent on this “small group of golfers who do not need to be subsidized.” Since the low fees he cites are for older Kauai residents and youth, I wonder how he knows that these people could play without discounts. A regular or even daily activity keeps many retired Kauaians healthy and happy.

The county “subsidy” is for employee salaries, spent primarily on Kauai. Good. (Mahalo for their fine work!) Businesses, of course, don’t subsidize the elderly, young or poor. Governments properly do so, and government activities need not break even or make a profit.

The state or county subsidizes readers, Little League, senior softball, youth soccer, hiking, beachgoing, swimming, transportation, schools, activities at neighborhood centers, fish, birds, plants, coral reefs, and business through infrastructure, etc. This is good government.

Hawaii “subsidizes” private golf courses by assessing them based on their value as a golf course, rather than by highest and best use. This subsidy reflects value seen in recreation and open space.

Perhaps more income can be generated by the Wailua Golf Course. Currently, there is no concessionaire, and deals could be made with hotels to fill tee times, the Kauai Bus could have a golf course/correction center stop, etc.

But let’s not throw out the kupuna with the bath water without thinking about what good government is about and knowing how ending discounts will affect our Kauai residents.

Jed Somit, Kapaa

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