Letters for Thrusday, May 4, 2017

• GE tax far from fair • A plan for education is critical

GE tax far from fair

Gallows humor – “Taxation” This little something called “GE Tax” I’m discovering. So I found out that I need collect 4 percent GE taxes on my roommate situation but why then are businesses normally charging 4.16 percent in GE tax? It turns out that not only is it a tax on income. It is a tax on “taxes collected.”

That’s right, the the state of Hawaii literally charges a tax on the taxes you collect and pay! It’s only a small amount you might say, but I say it’s a bigger sign of the government doing what it can to squeeze every penny out of us as possible and in an underhanded way.

The question I have, does our government really need more tax money or does it simply need to manage the tax money it has smarter and more efficiently? How could the current tax system be more fair and logical?

John Aaron, Kapaa

A plan for education is critical

On Thursday, April 27, the Kauai Planning Department Commissioners gave the public an appreciated opportunity to provide input on the General Plan, a plan for Kauai for the next 20 years.

As I gave my testimony, I stated that I am still teaching at University of Hawaii, Manoa as adjunct faculty of the Teacher Education Department. I failed to add though that for the last 16 years, I have had the privilege of teaching while living and working from Kauai. This is important to note for it gives me credibility that I know all 15 of our Department of Education schools.

As teacher and past supervisor of teacher candidates, I got to know the schools, the administration, the mentors, and the teachers. Another person at the Planning Commissioner’s meeting stated that our “education sucks” on Kauai.

I would like to inform our community that Kauai has some of the best teachers in the state. Kauai teachers are knowledgeable, skillful, and caring. The overemphasis on testing and other mandates are the problem with today’s educational system.

Education on the whole needs to be transformed and it is not going to happen over night. But the schools that are teaching project-based learning, the arts, and social emotional learning, as well as the academics, are making a difference.

We need to be teaching children how to be critical thinkers, to collaborate, to be communicators and know communication, to be creative and to be caring contributors for a just society.

To approve a General Plan for the next 20 years without an educational component should not be acceptable. Education on Kauai is not just a state problem, it should be everyone’s problem.

Educating our youths should be priority #1. Our youths will be the thinkers, the problem-solvers, and our leaders of the future. They must be prepared to contend with increased population that causes traffic congestion, ensuring our island is sustainable, solving the homeless and housing situation, making decisions on preventing crime and drug problems, and providing solutions for challenges that we cannot even imagine.

Let us have an education plan for our youths in the General Plan, for they will make a difference.

Dr. Ka‘ni Blackwell (DrB), Kapaa

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