Your Views for February 17

Seek FHA funds

Sen. Dru Kanuha introduced legislation, Senate Bill 1011, which allocates $30 million toward widening Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension and Kuakini Highway. Hawaii Department of Transportation’s testimony regarding SB1011 briefly details their plans.

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This includes adding an additional lane, with contraflow, from this funding.

This will pose challenges between Lako Street and Kamehameha III road where the topography leaves little room to add additional capacity, with having to resort to acquiring right of way.

HDOT also stated in their testimony that a bona fide widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension/Kuakini Highway is estimated to cost $150 million and require right of acquisition from 150 property owners. In other words, the proposed $30 million allocation is only 20% of what is necessary to truly widen this congested thoroughfare.

They also stopped work on the required environmental assessment for the widening of this highway, which will have to resume if it is the intention to add additional capacity.

I suggest HDOT seeks additional Federal Highway Administration matching funds to do a genuine widening of these highways, instead of this Band-Aid approach using only state funds. Yes, the cost of doing that is roughly $150 million, but the work could be phased as funds become available.

This would be the preferred approach to accommodate future population and traffic growth.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona

‘Embrace sin’

Senate Bill 1232 proposes an additional 10-cent tax on alcoholic “drinks” (1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, 5 ounces of wine, and 12 ounces of beer).

The present tax on a quart of liquor is about $1.50. If the additional fee of 10 cents per 1.5 ounces passes, that would add $2.13 to the present tax.

It brings to mind the action taken by package stores (liquor stores on military bases) on Oahu back in the ’70s. Someone determined the armed forces (primarily men) were drinking too much, and the expense took away from the care of their families.

The reasoning was that raising the price of liquor would encourage them to spend less on liquor and more on the family. Turned out, it had the opposite effect. Military men still bought the same amount of alcohol, which now costed more, leaving less money for the family.

Sin taxes are regressive — adversely impacting the poor more than the affluent (completely counter to the Dem’s purported agenda).

And taxes don’t serve to remove a person from sin. They beget new sins.

Illegal activities to avoid taxes increase, and the effective taxes received by the state, may even decrease. Those willing to take a chance make money, but the state reaps absolutely nothing from these illegal activities.

Instead of increasing sin taxes, embrace sin. Legalize pakalolo, Hawaii’s biggest crop (there are several proposed bills this session to do exactly that).

Legalize gambling in some form or fashion (I favor leaving the decision up to the county, with the county retaining all funds generated).

Legalize prostitution (again, up to individual counties) — a benny for the customer, and less disease might even save the state money.

Leave the abatement of individual sin up to the churches.

As my girlfriend, Kat, says, “Who elects these people?”

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Fred Fogel

Volcano

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