We are at a crossroads; the future is now

  • Contributed photo

    Ana Mo Des

Some information has been brought to my attention on the intentions the state has in navigating the future burden of balancing the budget that I feel we should be aware of before January is upon us. I watched a Facebook Live presentation on a candidate for council’s page interviewing two state representatives, titled “State Legislature Update,” and I have a few issues with what was discussed that alarmed me in which I’ll share here.

Firstly, when it comes to the capital improvement projects such as the gymnasiums at the high schools, why is Waimea High school last on the list? It seems that Waimea comes last for everything. I had the same issue with the crosswalks. There were proper crosswalks throughout the island except for when it came to the Westside. It took multiple fatalities for the issue to gather enough attention for it to be solved. Having the House majority floor leader as a resident of Waimea should count for something, and I’m not saying that Waimea should always come first, but it most certainly should not always come last.

Secondly, the House majority floor leader made a statement suggesting the half percent increase in the GET that belongs to the county be retained by the state. In my opinion this is wrong, and I’m not sure it is even legal or ethical. The county needs that money that was approved for road-resurfacing to continue going towards that. We are no where near finished, and are finally solving an issue after years of neglect.

Third, final and most concerning, though, is the consideration of bringing in gambling and the lottery as revenue options, according to a what was said by the House majority floor leader during this interview. Let’s be clear. The state feels it’s an option to exploit the vulnerability of those facing financial hardships by taking their money reserves as “revenue” on the chance they will win money so they may make ends meat. Does it sound like the state has the wellbeing of its citizens in mind?

Instead, I pose an alternative solution: In order to balance the economic disparity caused by exploitation that results in drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, crime, homelessness, trafficking and ultimately suicide, let’s reallocate the taxes from the businesses profiting off the land, air, sea, spring, river, ‘aina, aloha, mana of the island, and have them stay on the island where generated to be dispersed to the residents as dividends paid like the Alaska Permanent Fund operates off oil profits. (The Alaska Permanent Fund is a constitutionally established permanent fund managed by a state-owned corporation, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, APFC. It was established in Alaska in 1976. As of 2019, the fund was worth approximately $64 billion that has been funded by oil revenues and has paid out an average of approximately $1,600 annually per resident.) This is a great comparison with something that can happen in Hawai‘i with our natural reserves. The ever-increasing cost of living will be offset and we will be able to participate in the free market as an island community instead of depending solely on tourists to shop at boutiques and frequent small-business establishments. It will lead to small-business growth which will in turn generate fair revenue in taxes for the state. For now, the state will just have to deal with the loss of revenue that wasn’t theirs to begin with and focus on hospitals and education, knowing how important it is to delegate responsibilities in order to succeed.

What needs to be understood by all of us is that even though labor unions came to rescue plantation workers from unjust working conditions, throughout the decades since absolute power corrupts absolutely, those in power at the state have become like the plantation owners and all of us residents have become like the plantation workers. This may seem extreme, but the concept is worth exploring. To be fair, the unions and the political players have gotten us to here, and it’s appreciated, but let’s all work together to finish the task so the word given to the people may be honored. The point is we are at a crossroads and the decisions of the past have lead us to our current situation. Do we want them to continue leading us down the same path? It’s time for new, innovative decisions at the state because the most-important aspect to these islands is its people, and we need to make the sustainable decisions that will allow for our children to raise their children here. Aloha cannot be faked, so if the state wants to sell it, then the residents need to be respected and the native culture and people honored. The future is now and the patience has run out.

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Ana Mo Des is a resident of Kalaheo and a Republican candidate for District 16.

13 Comments
  1. Dt October 21, 2020 2:32 am Reply

    Why stop at $1600? Let’s try to to get to $30k per resident, and call it a serf goes surf tax. We can tax all the businesses including small businesses, hospitals, government workers, retired people…


  2. Uncleaina October 21, 2020 7:25 am Reply

    I’m sorry but this opinion piece kinda explains why our local government isn’t very good. So the idea here is to tax aloha like Alaska taxes it’s oil reserves? Really? Even though oil is an actual THING that sells for billions of dollars annually? Tax the small businesses that have just been crushed by COVID for using the ‘aina? So maybe if it’s really nice place you can tax em more? “Ooo you had a really flat day out Na Pali, that’s gonna cost you extra $25 per person Aina Fee”. Most of the local activities/restaurants/boutiques etc are owned by local people – you think taxing them more is the answer? Taxes aren’t going to fix this – it just sounds good at first.


  3. james October 21, 2020 7:44 am Reply

    Making recreational marijuana legal, like California and many other states, can help bring in much needed revenue to the State and Kauai County. Let’s not keep putting off the best option for us to raise money.


  4. Chamundi Sabanathan October 21, 2020 7:59 am Reply

    Kudos for your understanding of the principle behind the Alaska Permanent Fund. Natural resources should always be recognized as the rightful heritage of the community–either distributed outright to residents as in Alaska, or even better, used as the rightful income of government in lieu of taxes on wages, commerce and other productive activity.


  5. LMat October 21, 2020 9:08 am Reply

    You know what else will lead to small-business growth…? Legalizing marijuana. You’re right, we ARE at a crossroads, the future IS now. This is the PERFECT time to start looking into a legitimate plan on legalizing recreational marijuana in Hawaii. You want to boost the economy? You want to diversify the economy? You want increased tax revenue…? You want people to bounce back from depressing, pandemic-induced funks…? Why are we not seriously looking into this yet?!!


  6. WestsideResident October 21, 2020 11:39 am Reply

    Totally corrupted leadership needs to be voted out.

    Great idea to follow Alaska’s model.


  7. Kaua’i Tutu October 22, 2020 4:55 am Reply

    Ana,
    Thank you for putting our Island first and thinking outside the box. We need fresh ideas …… the same ol’ same is getting us no where! Good luck on your election!


  8. nobody October 22, 2020 6:31 am Reply

    Raise taxes and fees on tourism. Use the funding to improve infrastructure, roads and parking.

    Roads and parking are what really frustrates our local population.


  9. Kauai Guy October 22, 2020 6:40 am Reply

    Why not just tax beer, cigarettes, candy, soda, weed, musubi, and Tacoma’s. We’d solve this islands obesity problem and pay for everything.
    All these half wit ideas is why this island will be 70% mainlanders by the end of 2021. Mainland buyers are coming in faster then ever with mainland money. Let’s try to keep 325 million people out. Only 70K here. We can be bought out by next year. Our local leaders continue to fail us with these communist ideas that stifle business and limit economic development. The people here will only learn when it’s too late.


    1. nobody October 23, 2020 6:06 am Reply

      Amen


  10. manawai October 22, 2020 7:40 am Reply

    Great idea! Do what Alaska does, but with coconut oil? Our money isn’t found in huge reserves under ground ready for taking. It’s earned by the hard work by productive individuals and businesses. Get real.


  11. Michael October 22, 2020 12:45 pm Reply

    She’s talking about the taxes that tourists / companies that use the land/sea for business – those taxes that are sent elsewhere, keep them within our local (kauai) economy. It’s our island, so instead of paying for stuff on Oahu or outer islands, the money would be spent on projects here on Kauai. These are tax dollars that are already being spent – it’s not raising taxes. It’s re-allocating, moving them closer to home.

    And guys, the marijuana legalization, we’re talking about moving away from drugs, why are you moving closer to it? And don’t say the same argument that, every body does it already. Legalizing it would attract those who have stayed away from the stuff because of its illegality.


  12. Debra Kekaualua October 24, 2020 3:52 pm Reply

    Mention’ Alaska and Gambling’ in the same publishing, I can pretty much guarantee it all comes out of the FedWreckian Danner hui o Anehola slitherers, and the several dozen corporates without Koko who have acquired Leasee status while the death list bunny keeps up with the ones, that keep going and going and went to GITMO!


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