LETTERS for August 4 issue
GOVERNMENT MATH 101
Since this concerns citizens of West Maui as well, I thought they should read it in the Lahaina News.
Last year our exiting governor, Linda Lingle, decided to keep $109 million in tax refunds to make the state budget look better ON PAPER. Never mind that the money did not belong to the state.
Now we are having “reduced tax revenue,” because the money was finally released plus interest of about $6 million. But do not rejoice about the interest. Somebody has to pay for it, right? The taxpayer. Raised fees, services cut down… the possibilities are endless.
In addition, the DE FACTO inflation in Hawaii is about 15 percent, so even with the interest, you are getting much less in buying power.
Makes the question about raising the debt ceiling in D.C. by $2 trillion to $4 trillion trivial.
I just would like to know who our ex-governor’s math teacher was?
Wait… I have an idea. Tomorrow, I go to the bank and borrow a million dollars. Maybe I die before the payment is due, so I spend it all and I am rich — at least on paper.
Unfortunately, governments don’t die; they just get reelected again and again.
This “refund-keeping” is bordering on a Ponzi Scheme. The brother of a prosecutor no less just got 12 years in prison for an $8 million scheme. Lingle will get a place in history. The question is, which one?
Just a little bit of sarcasm by our federal government. If heating oil prices go up, inflation actually goes DOWN, according to the “revised inflation figure.” This is because people buy less heating oil and wear more sweaters to stay warm, so the total amount spent on heating oil is going down, thus taking the inflation rate down as well.
You can really spin everything!! Anyway, a big “F” for Hawaii in math!!
JOHN BLAHUTA, Lahaina
NOT AGAINST BUSES — JUST THE LOCATION OF THE TERMINAL
This is in response to a July 21 letter purportedly written by Kim Chang.
I can guess that someone from The Wharf wrote your letter for you.
You beg forgiveness for your ignorance. You are wrong on so many points, I wouldn’t know where to begin forgiving.
I’m not against you riding the buses. I’m against the bus terminal being here on Luakini Street.
Your fellow citizens are living 40 feet from the bus terminal. Can’t you understand our plight?
ARSENE “BLACKIE” GADARIAN, Lahaina
SUPPORT 9TH LIFE HAWAII
There are many nonprofit animal support organizations on Maui that receive no funding from county taxes, and as our economy has declined, so have their contributions from supporters.
9th Life Hawaii (www.9thlifehawaii.org), Maui’s largest NO KILL, all cat rescue and sanctuary, is facing this challenge as well, but in an effort to overcome it, is holding its first silent auction on Sunday, Aug. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Hana Hou Cafe in Haiku. Call 575-2661 for reservations.
Why not participate in this happy event with other animal lovers to enjoy good food, entertainment and marvelous auction items, including seven nights at a resort condo in Las Vegas, autographed jersey and baseball cap from our own Shane Victorino, two nights ocean view at the Grand Wailea, and 100 more?
Check the 9th Life Hawaii website or call 572-3499.
MIKE MORAN, Kihei
AMERICA DOESN’T NEED A TAX-DODGING INDUSTRY
Like a pack of men in suits mud wrestling, Washington’s budget battle would be entertaining to watch if we the people weren’t about to get hurt.
The zeal of Republican lawmakers and their compliant counterparts in the Democratic Party to slash spending on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other essential programs will lower the quality of life in our communities and take a toll on public health.
Off to the side of the mud pit, however, is a $1 trillion idea that would support patriotic U.S. businesses, discourage job exports and restore fairness to our tax system.
It’s an idea that already commands widespread public support. It deserves broad bipartisan political support, too.
In the last two weeks, congressional leaders have introduced an updated version of the “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act.” Their proposal would shut down the offshore tax loopholes that encourage corporate tax dodging.
Over the last year, we’ve learned that there are dozens of profitable and prominent U.S. companies that pay either no or very low corporate income taxes. These include Verizon, General Electric, Boeing and Amazon.
One of these companies’ common gimmicks is to shift profits to subsidiaries in low-tax or no-tax countries like the Cayman Islands. They pretend corporate profits pile up “offshore,” while their losses accrue in the United States, reducing or eliminating their company’s obligation to Uncle Sam.
Yet these same companies use our public infrastructure, hire workers trained in our schools and depend on the U.S. court system to protect their property.
Our military defends their assets, yet they’re not paying their share of the bill. In wartime, the unequal sacrifice and tax shenanigans of these companies are very unseemly.
Corporate tax dodging hurts Main Street firms that are forced to compete on an unlevel playing field.
The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act would end tax games that are costly, harmful to domestic U.S. businesses and workers, and blatantly unfair to those of us who pay our fair share of taxes.
These same offshore systems facilitate criminal activity, from drug money laundering to terrorist financing networks. Smugglers, drug cartels and even terrorist networks like al-Qaeda thrive in secret offshore jurisdictions, where individuals can hide or obscure the beneficial ownership of bank accounts and corporations to avoid any reporting or government oversight.
The offshore system has spawned a huge tax-dodging industry. Its teams of lawyers and accountants add nothing to the efficiency of markets or products. Instead of making a better widget, companies invest in designing a better tax scam.
The combination of federal budget concerns and a growing public awareness of corporate tax avoidance promises to focus greater attention on this proposal than past years.
As leaders in Congress debate how to wring out $2 trillion to $4 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade, this legislation should be at the top of the bipartisan list.
The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act would generate an estimated $100 billion in revenues every year. That’s $1 trillion over the next decade.
Lawmakers should also reject calls, currently being debated in Congress, for a tax holiday for corporate tax dodgers.
A coalition of global companies, including Google, Apple and drug giant Pfizer, have stashed an estimated $1.2 trillion in profits offshore. They want to repatriate their profits at drastically reduced tax rates.
Congress should vigorously oppose a “tax holiday” for these tax dodgers. Instead of rewarding fiscally irresponsible behavior, lawmakers should fix the root cause of the problem and outlaw tax haven abuse.
CHUCK COLLINSInstitute for Policy Studies
THEATRE THEATRE MAUI APPRECIATES SUPPORT
On behalf of our board of directors, a big MAHALO from Theatre Theatre Maui (TTM) to all involved with our 19th summer performing arts program. In five-and-a-half weeks, 46 students attended theatre camp in Lahaina, then rehearsed and presented four shows of “Disney’s Camp Rock-The Musical” in Kaanapali. We acknowledge this was only made possible due to the awesome support of our community.
We thank the County of Maui for supporting our West Maui program through their Community Partnership Grant funding, which helps provide for quality performing arts instruction. To our creative team of Kristi Scott, Vania and Jason Jerome, Aly Cardinalli, Derek Nakagawa, Eric Peterson, Kai Johnson, Cody Ball and Kirsten Gilchrist, we thank you for your dedicated artistic energies providing this positive experience. Huge thanks to Lahainaluna High School for classroom use, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa for generously providing week-long use of their Haleakala Ballroom and to Whalers Village for their parking lot kokua. Hats off to Trinity Property Consultants for our office space at 505 Front Street Shops; Precision Cutting Services for being our T-shirt sponsor, the Lahaina News team for their publicity support and to so many businesses for heavily discounted, loaned or donated supplies: Lahaina Ace, Epic Lighting, Lahaina Music, Major Show Productions, MAPA, PSAV, Scott Brothers Pacific, Village Audio, the Water Store and to many in our community for financial or in-kind support and being such a supportive audience. If we have missed acknowledging anyone, we do apologize and do thank you! We applaud such fabulous support to help keep alive TTM’s mission of bringing the theatrical arts experience to the youth and adults of West Maui.
To each “rockin'” student and their family, you are all-stars, and we thank you for joining us this summer. Mahalo nui!
LOUISA SHELTON, Executive Director, Theatre Theatre Maui