Saturday | March 25, 2017
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Letters 4-7

Tax rates

High pension income should be taxed

I admire the governor’s attempt last legislative session to tax pension income above a certain level. The figure was $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for couples. Such a measure would have helped ease the tax burden on the working person in this state.

It is unsettleing to realize the working person in Hawaii pays one of the highest state income taxes in the country while individuals with six-figure plus incomes enjoy their pensions totally exempt from state income taxes. Hawaii ties with Oregon as the two highest state income tax rates in the United States.

Nearly every member of the state Senate is of the same political party as Gov. Abercombie; he could not gain the member’s support. Consequently, the remaining taxpayers continue to carry the tax burden. Yet these same state legislators unconscionably continually seek re-election. Fueled by political action committee money, the incubents will normally outspend their opponents many times over.

Unfortunately, too many times when the voter goes into the polling booth (or fills out that absentee ballot), name recognition is the determing factor.

John Totten



Bill knocks small honey producers out

There is a bill being considered by our state Legislature this session, SB2332. Under the guise of “helping” beekeepers with the onslaught of invasive honey bee pests, the bill’s effect will be to put home-based honey producers out of business.

Currently, home-based honey producers are exempt from Department of Health inspection because as the bill acknowledges “Honey is antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal, and antibacterial — it never spoils and does not host harmful bacteria.” Current law exempts small producers from DOH regulation provided they sell a limited amount of product (50 gallons) direct to the public with a label that states, “This product is home-produced and processed.”

The new legislation would change that label to read “This product was not produced in a Department of Health-inspected facility and may place you at greater risk of contracting a food-borne illness or being exposed to environmental contaminants.”

Wordiness aside, the intent of this legislation is to have a chilling effect on sales of honey sold by home-based producers.

DOH acknowledges it doesn’t have the funds or personnel to inspect the honey houses of small producers. To put producers outside its purview out of business, however, is no solution.

Hawaii home-based honey producers are a small group; our voices are not enough to influence state legislators. I urge your readers to lend their voices to ours and stop this legislation.

Cary Dizon