Aloha, North Shore! by Rep. Gil Riviere

I have heard clearly from many of you that taxing pension income is a terrible idea. I agree. It is patently unfair to change the rules after our pensioners have retired and no longer have an opportunity to alter their financial plans.

Of course, the pension tax plan is but one of many that are being considered to close the budget gap. The list of fee increases, taxes on soda and alcohol, delays of tax credits and transfers from special funds is long. Hold on to your wallets, it is going to be a bumpy ride!

If there is a silver lining in this financial challenge, it is that we have an opportunity – the responsibility, really – to get our state’s financial house in order. Just like we do as individuals with our family finances, the state must live within its means. We are just going to have to make do with the $10 billion state budget without compounding the high cost of living we residents already endure.

Moving on to other news, I am pleased to report that three bills I am involved with all passed out of their first committees. These include: stipulating that a Blank vote on constitutional measures shall not count as a No; declaration of October as Farm to School Month in Hawaii; a pilot project to clean up Lake Wilson water for agricultural use.

Congratulations to Fran Corcoran, the 2011 Hawaii Librarian of the Year! Under Fran’s energetic direction, Kahuku Library is the only library in Hawaii that continuously provides a community event and presentation every Tuesday evening. Through her leadership, Kahuku Library provides regular service throughout the district with a bookmobile. Please remember to thank Fran and the other great librarians throughout our district for the great service they provide our communities.

Remember that you are always welcome to visit us in Room 319 at the Capitol, we encourage you to share your thoughts with a phone call to 586-6380, and you can get more district information at GilRiviere.Info.

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