On May 8, the Tribune-Herald published two missives from citizens concerned about the ever increasing burden of county government on the people of the Big Island. Both letters are correct in their opinions that county government IS becoming overstaffed and overpaid.
On May 6, the Tribune-Herald stated of the $22.6 million increase in the proposed county budget by Mayor Billy Kenoi, “more than $20 million is targeted for employee raises and increases in benefits.” The 2,630 county employees are in line to receive a $20 million pay raise.
One must realize elected officials in most jurisdictions are “wholly owned subsidiaries” of government employee unions. The “means” for these untimely union raises are from a modest increase return of the tourist tax from “Mommy Oahu” and from an increase in the value of property on the Big Island as we start to recover from the “Great Recession” in the mid-2000s.
Sadly, Mr. Kenoi and company must tow the union line, and he must give his union overlords any extra revenue that might arise from a slowly recovering economy. Well-placed campaign contributions can purchase any number of politicians.
About 410 BC, well-known Greek philosopher Aristophanese said: “Under every stone lurks a politician.” More than 2000 years later, politicians are still the bane of this planet.
In an amazing piece of statistics, the Tribune-Herald published last September, 2013, the “East Hawaii F.A.Q. Book.” On page 27, there is a list of the top 27 employers on the Big Island. The top three employers are “county, state and federal governments.” The next 24 companies are private-sector employers.
What is almost beyond belief is the three government entities employee 25 percent more people than the next 24 private-sector companies combined.
And one wonders why government is such a weight on the backs of those few people left who still pay taxes.
However dismal this might sound, Kenoi and company can move almost with impunity.
On April 28, the Salary Commission had a public hearing for input from the public about proposed government employee raises for staff people and elected officials. At this open hearing, there were four people in the audience. Only ONE person testified on behalf of the public. That person was me. I testified against any raises for anyone in government. Some raises were granted, while others were tabled for another hearing (Tribune-Herald, March 29).
Though many folks might write letters to the editor, there is nothing like a massive presence at a council meeting telling these petty bureaucrats they CANNOT take all our money.
There will be another hearing of the Salary Commission about June 10 for further input from the public. In the meanwhile, County Council will have a budget meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday (May 14) at the Hilo council chambers.
Please, be there to let government know every penny government spends comes from people paying taxes.
Government workers and governments in and of themselves do not generate any wealth. Wealth is only created by people working in the private sector.
Leave PTA alone
I feel compelled to respond to a letter against the U.S. Army presence in Pohakuloa (Training Area). Please remember there are many folks employed there — paying mortgages, feeding their families and supporting our struggling economy. Those people drive up and down that mountain daily to WORK for a living.
Water alone costs the Army $1 million annually to truck up there. That goes right back into our economy. My heart ached when I heard your marching group uttering the word “POHAKULOA” at the annual Merrie Monarch parade. Next time, stay home! Better yet, focus on the pimples on Mauna Kea and leave Pohakuloa alone!