Gov. Linda Lingle, I am a Kaneohe resident and I am deeply disappointed in your decision not to veto HB 1309. I understand your reasoning that Oahu needs an alternative to alleviate traffic congestion but what about the alternatives to alleviate us from the ever-growing tax burden?
You’ve signed HB 1308, the bill to increase conveyance taxes on homes in Hawaii, and now you’re going to allow the Democrats to get away with taxing us even more and making life that much more difficult.
Hawaii cannot afford the high cost of living that government imposes on us. Because of government, our families and friends are living in “economic exile” by having to move away from Hawaii to search for a better life elsewhere. Businesses (Big and small) can barely survive and try to make ends meet because of the endless regulations government has imposed on it. People voted for you because they believed you would make Hawaii “business friendly” and would cut the red tape and bureaucracy that exists in State government. But now all I see is more of the same shibai. … It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican, you’re all the same. I understand you’re fighting an uphill battle being outnumbered by the Democrats in the Legislature, but I believe you can be flexible on making a deal with your Democrat counterparts without selling out your ideals.
Governor, you’ve sold out to the people of Hawaii because a majority of the tax paying public do not want this tax increase. The only people who seem to want this are those who stand to financially benefit from it, namely the trade unions who’ll be working to construct the rail system, private companies who’ll get paid to help construct it, the state employees who’ll be hired to operate it once it’s been built 15 to 20 years from now and Hawaiian Electric who’ll be supplying the electricity to run the trains.
This all smells like a typical backroom deal while ignoring the wishes and interests of the people you were elected to serve. Many people and groups have come to you, Mayor Hannemann, the state Legislature and Honolulu’s City Council to show that rail will not work in Honolulu.
But yet despite this, all of you have brushed them off as being anti-progressive and ignored their facts only to placate to the Democrats and their special interest groups. Also, not only will this tax be a burden to the working men and women of Hawaii but it will be an unfair tax. How often will the people living on the North Shore or Winward Oahu (Kahaluu, Kaneohe and Kailua) be using this rail system? Those of us living in these areas who have to work in Honolulu will still have to use their cars. You and the Legislature will allow this tax to go through and we won’t even be benefitting from it. I think the only people who’ll benfit riding the rail will be the tourists who can’t afford to rent a car to travel and those who live and work close to the rail line.
You said you received a letter from Democrat leaders pledging to introduce legislation in 2006 to revise the sections of HB 1309 that will have counties and not the state be responsible for the assessment and collection of the tax. Do you honestly believe that these people will keep their word? Or will these career politicians end up making more excuses next year and rephrazing what they had said in the letter in order to jusitfy another tax increase or increasing the price tag for a rail system that has no plan, no design, no route and no price tag. Do you think we’re na