Working students would appreciate minimum-wage increase
I am a student at University of Hawaii at Manoa. Five years ago, I moved to Oahu with my family. Before I started pursuing my bachelor’s in political science, I took a year and a half off from school and worked full time while earning less than a living wage in Honolulu.
As a young adult responsible for her living expenses in the most expensive state of the U.S., I know firsthand the challenges of barely getting by despite living very frugally. I know if it weren’t for my parents’ assistance with insurance and phone bills, I would not have been able to make ends meet.
Unfortunately, many students and young professionals do not have the safety net that I had, and face far more challenges while working several jobs. I would like to implore our lawmakers to improve the minimum wage and give us a real living wage bill sooner rather than later.
Allison Fluetsch, UH Manoa student
Tired of being scammed by politicians
In Sunday’s paper an interesting article by Richard Borreca clearly depicts the deceitful tactics that politicians use to scam us out of our money. In the article, he quotes state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz as having told our mayor to “re-prioritize” — take the money you had budgeted for roads and use it for salaries, and make up the money with the GET (general excise tax).
So, he is advising our mayor to lie to us. We were told that the excise tax increase was for ADDITIONAL monies to correct the serious deficiencies in our roads and bridges. Now he is saying “take out the existing money and replace it with the GET funds.” So, net growth in the road budget, ZERO! But, they can say they did use the GET money for roads, so they get away with scamming us.
Last fall, I warned that that is the game they would play with the funds raised for “education” through a proposed state tax increase, by letting the state tax properties. Thankfully, the people of Hawaii were smart enough to defeat that at the polls. They would simply have reduced the budget for education and replaced it with the “new” money and point and say, “see, we used the money for the education budget.”
I suspect that the proposed increases in gas tax, weight tax and registration fees will see the same net result, with no added money to repair roads. They will simply “cook the books” to gloss over their blatant lies and deceit.
I for one am tired of being taken advantage of, lied to and treated like I am oblivious to the scams that they play to get more of our hard-earned money. They “promise” that the increased taxes will go to a popular cause (such as fixing our substandard roads), then when we are not looking, they pull a bait-and-switch on us. They make the great magicians look like second-rate hacks when it comes slight-of-hand tricks to make our money disappear!
I certainly hope that our new mayor and councilmembers are clever enough to realize that we are wise to these tricks, and will be watching how they allocate EVERY dollar of the additional GET funds, and will compare previous years’ road funding to new. We will know if they try to pull the wool over our eyes!
We, the people of Kauai, are not stupid. We expect open, honest government, truth in the way you spend our money, and expect that promises made are promises kept (guess that maybe we are naive). Simply put, keep your hands off the GET money for anything but additional funds to fix our roads and traffic issues. Twenty-five years of broken promises to fix our traffic is enough! Every councilmember and the mayor campaigned on promises to fix our traffic. YOU may have forgotten those promises the day after the election, but WE have not!
Barry Dittler, Wailua