Your Views for April 12

Maintain or improve?

In an article titled “Kim says balanced budget isn’t enough” (Tribune-Herald, March 26), Mayor Harry Kim is quoted as saying, “Nobody wants to just maintain. They want to see our county improve.”

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I am not entirely in agreement with these statements as there are unstated considerations that make them untenable.

One generally agrees that improvement is desirable, but the main question is: At what cost?

We all, in one way or another, do a cost-to-benefit calculation whenever we buy anything. We figure out whether what we will pay will be worth what we will get. We don’t always choose to buy because we decide what we get isn’t worth the cost. Happens a lot. When we ignore this basic due diligence, we can end up in deep trouble.

Reading between the lines, one might be led to believe that the “improvements” being talked about will come at a price. It would be no surprise if the price is the general excise tax increase that is pending before the County Council.

For many in Hawaii County, it has come to a point where what is bought is a matter of only what is essential to living. There are no “discretionary funds” with which to add anything else besides necessities. There are exceedingly few who live here who get a $30,000 per year pay increase. There are many who do not even make $30,000 per year.

What is your choice? Simply put: Choose improvement at the cost of increased taxes, or choose to maintain and have no tax increase.

To choose to improve the county also means choosing to take away from my personal improvement. The many tax increases by the state and county have continued to take away from my improvement for years. Tax increases affect directly and indirectly, and it always raises the cost of living.

In my view, improvement means reducing my cost of living and that can come by lowering taxes, not by raising them.

Albert Nakaji

Papaikou

Who vets murals?

Regarding the murals around Hilo, I’d like to know if there is any type of vetting process for the intended artwork, whereby artists would have to submit sketches to a committee for approval.

If there’s not, there should be.

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Gretchen Grove

Pepeekeo