A more equitable solution
I support Puna Councilwoman Jen Ruggles’ suggestion to raise the property tax rates on the hotel/resort class and impose a “luxury tax” on the county’s 1,060 second homes worth more than $1 million.
I attended the meeting with Tim Richards and Mayor Harry Kim in Waikoloa. Everyone knows that the GET (general excise tax) is a regressive tax hurting those who can afford it the least. Those with the most should contribute to our community in a more equitable way. This should gain the support of the vast majority of full-time residents of Hawaii Island.
Trump directive went to wrong place
Many of us who advocate stricter gun controls were pleasantly surprised when President Donald Trump directed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “to propose regulations to ban all devices to turn legal weapons into machine guns.” These are usually referred to as “bump stocks.”
The problem is that the attorney general can’t just ban such devices. Congress needs to pass legislation in order to reclassify bump stocks in the United States. A bipartisan bill to ban bump stocks has been floating around congress for some time with out any action. In fact, the House Speaker killed such a bill.
We don’t know if the president knew the attorney general could not ban bump stocks. However, his advisers certainly knew it.
This is yet another example of the president proposing reforms that are a sham.
Who is getting the money?
According to facts reported in the Thursday edition of West Hawaii Today, in 2000 the county had 2,053 employees, a population of 148,677 and a budget in today’s dollars of $249,400,000. In 2018, the county has 2,479 employees, a population of 198,449 and a budget in today’s dollars of $491,000,000.
Therefore, county population is up 33 percent and county spending is up 97 percent but county employment is up only 21 percent. Who is getting the money?