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Jul 5, 2008

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Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Minus Abercrombie, health reform needs true bipartisanshi...

The Democratic plan going forward, is to try to bring a hodge podge of ideas together to gain enough votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate and win an up-down vote in the House. We already have a conglomeration of ideas in the current bill to try to coalesce liberal and conservative Democrats, but it just seems to fail the test of big ideas. Instead, the Democrats should drop the current bill altogether, and start off with Senator Ron Wyden's (D-OR) Healthy American Act. Unlike the bill that was crafted by Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), Wyden's bill was co-sponsored by Democrats like Daniel Inouye and Republicans like Judd Gregg, Bob Bennett and Lamar Alexander. The bill had been found by the CBO to be revenue-neutral, and the Lewin Group (which had previously attacked the Democrat's current reform bill) had previously found that Wyden's bill could save Americans as much as a trillion dollars over a decade. I think the Star-Bulletin should be pushing for the Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to get over his big ego, and bring the Healthy Americans Act to a committee vote. With Daniel Inouye's co-sponsorship of the bill, I would hope that the Star-Bulletin would give the Healthy Americans Act a push.  (Feb 12, 2010 | post #1)

LA Daily News

The heat is on UCLA and USC as signing day approaches for...

Someone has bad math. Dietrich Riley going to UCLA is pegged at 30%, while his going to USC is 89%. I guess in the world of hyperbole, it can be said that wherever Dietrich Riley goes, he'll be giving all 119%.  (Jan 26, 2010 | post #22)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Lingle calls city's rail plan costly, elevated tracks ugl...

Lingle as an astute aesthete; who knew she had a creative mind? Not me. So far she doesn't seem keen on solving the problems of the state with anything but more of the same, trite Republican ideas.  (Jan 9, 2010 | post #82)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Scientists and spies share climate data - New York Times

You must think that we only have a very limited amount of assets to use.  (Jan 5, 2010 | post #2)


First family enjoys a quiet Christmas - Hawaii News

American Infidel, you're such a lolo. How much the state GOP paying you anyway?  (Dec 28, 2009 | post #87)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Third-grade photo capture's Obama's grin - Hawaii News

Funny how all the haoles from the East coast have spread their hate...and Poi boy.  (Dec 28, 2009 | post #69)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

USC overpowers UNLV in DHC title game - Hawaii Sports

You have to understand what happened to USC basketball since last April, to appreciate this tournament win. Rocked by a media-reported scandal involving the star at USC, OJ Mayo, four USC starters left the program, three high profile recruits de-committed from what was then considered the 6th best recruiting class, and the coach ended up quitting the job. Now mind you, the issues haven't yet been resolved, but the NCAA did not appear to be fleet footed on the matter, neither dismissing the investigation, nor moving it forward. Thus the program remains under a cloud of uncertainty. In comes a new coach and a couple of transfers. Without any expectations and without any warning, they register what may end up being the signature win for this year's squad, a 22 point win over then-8th-ranked Tennessee. With this win over 20th-ranked UNLV, USC has now beaten three teams with 1-loss, and two ranked opponents. What this team has done so early in the season, is just fantastic.  (Dec 26, 2009 | post #1)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Chinatown police signage needs work, group says - Hawaii ...

They really should spend their money on solving the rat problem, not a bilingual sign.  (Dec 26, 2009 | post #9)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Pollution from rail feared - Hawaii News

When someone dreams up MORE CO2 from rail, you know they've been smoking too much pakalolo. No way anyone is that stupid.  (Dec 22, 2009 | post #337)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

First lady threats lead to arrest - Hawaii News

Did you just answer your own post as an act of irony?  (Dec 22, 2009 | post #20)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Live-in owners might escape possible property tax increas...

With regard to the Statesman article that part of the excise tax is "hidden" from consumers, that tax is still part of the total tax receipts that the state takes in, and therefore my assertion remains valid with regard to the level of tax actually paid by each resident. That you seem intent on arguing that the actual sales tax rate is 11% is irrelevant to the state's total revenue and the tax per capita or per working person; tax is tax is tax. That 11% effective rate is related to the local CPI, not some missing tax revenue that isn't being reported. Further, your belief that Hawaii is unique in that only half the total population earns wages and therefore pays taxes is an attempt at subterfuge. Hawaii ranks 17th highest in number of people employed compared to total population, based on BLS October 2009 total non-farm employment compared to 2008 Census population data. That Hawaii ranks 17th highest in workforce utilization should not be a surprise, as Hawaii's unemployment rate is also quite low relative to other states: http://i797.photob y252/gerrrg/employ edaspercentageofpo pulation.png And, if we measure the per-capita tax (minus the amount collected from tourism) as a percentage of median income in Hawaii, residents actually pay LESS taxes as a percentage of their income, than most other states. Even if you assert that you paid lower taxes 10 years ago, the reality is, that everyone that earned MORE each year, also paid MORE taxes each year, even if the tax brackets remained the same. That should be quite obvious. However, to challenge your assertion that your standard of living has gone down dramatically, I created a chart to show that in fact, the local CPI has not dramatically outpaced total wages: http://i797.photob y252/gerrrg/compar isonofcpitowages.p ng Finally, it is a failure of logic to assume that with more residents coming in, that property tax revenue should create a surplus. To begin with, as I have previously noted, the property tax rate in Hawaii is relatively modest in comparison to the rest of the US. Any change in the number of residents will only slightly affect the total tax revenue. But more importantly, you also forget that with new residents also comes new demands for public services, not just from welfare but also from basic infrastructure, which requires investment in both new and upgrades to existing infrastructure. You cannot have it both ways; you cannot have low taxes AND good government services. If you want good roads, you have to pay more taxes; they don't grow on trees. If you want to argue efficiency, as I've probably stated before, the closer you get to the final percentage of waste, you end up spending MORE money to root it out than you actually save. Is Hawaii at that point? Obviously not, but no way does waste make up a multi-billion dollar shortfall. To think otherwise is naive.  (Dec 18, 2009 | post #51)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Live-in owners might escape possible property tax increas...

You have completely misunderstood the very data that you're quoting. That number is based on total tax revenue divided by total population. However, according to a report from First Hawaiian Bank, 25% of total tax revenue comes from tourism. (1) 75% of total tax receipts from 2005 = $3.325M (non-tourism taxes) $3.325M / 1.275M residents = $2,608 total tax per capita. $2,608 tax per capita is equal to 11th highest tax per capita, not 3rd highest. (1) - ic/stories/2009/03 /30/daily37.html  (Dec 16, 2009 | post #30)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Live-in owners might escape possible property tax increas...

Don't worry, your property tax rates are still low by comparison to other places. In 2007, Hawaii's median property tax was 38th highest; as a percentage of median home value Hawaii's property tax was ranked 49th highest; as a percentage of median income, Hawaii's property tax was ranked 47th highest. (http://articles.m m/Taxes/Advice/Pro pertyTaxesWhereDoe sYourStateRank.asp x) Of course, most municipalities enjoy the property tax, because of its relative stability compared to the income and sales tax; it's not often that home values actually drop like they did the past two years, for consecutive annual periods. (http://www.econom 200170022509561575 53761601.gif)  (Dec 16, 2009 | post #2)

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Chinatown vendors battle rat infestation - Hawaii News

It'll be difficult to trap all the rats, as there is free food all around them.  (Dec 4, 2009 | post #117)

Q & A with gerrrg