April 1996 Home   Newsletters

May 1996

June 1996

President's Message (Astrid Monson)
Annual Meeting '96
Excerpts from "The 1996 Legislature" (Ah Quon McElrath)
Consensus on Con Con (Jean Aoki)
Human Resources (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
State Legislative Report (Jean Aoki & Arlene Ellis)
Can Honolulu League Survive?
New Guide to Services Published by ASK-2000
Voice of Our Own
Well Wishes from Hawaii
Voter Article Deadline
National Convention

Excerpts from "The 1996 Legislature"

The poor performance of the Legislature was a carry over from the last Legislature that worked under the pressure of a severely depressed economy. This affected the results of the current Legislature.

Notable among the many issues Ah Quon discussed were Education, Human Services and Taxes.

The University of Hawaii budget was drastically cut and the Regents' responsibility made that of raising the tuition to 30% of the cost of education. The 10 campuses of the University of Hawaii cannot exist under these conditions.

In lower education, 1500 students are being added each year. The Board of Education is not growing with the problem. The BOE fails each year to change its structure. Children should be taught to read at an early age. Computers will not replace personal attention.

4000 poor will be dropped from welfare by time limits put on assistance. The legislature is committed to reimburse the retirement fund One Billion dollars in 10 years. Human needs are being ignored to accomplish this. There is no need to effect this reimbursement all at once to the detriment of the needy.

Our personal State income taxes are regressive to a point and should be changed. 60% of our income is derived from our very regressive General Excise Tax, whose use needs a change. Monies allotted to the Department of Transportation for airport, highways, etc. need review.

There was a notable lack of leadership among the dissidents in the Legislature. These 15 or so young legislators were not willing to put their jobs on the line. Therefore, there was a lack of alternatives on important issues such as no-fault insurance or Medicaid. There was a lack of deep analysis shown by this legislature. Rather than grassroots organizing, there was only single issue emphasis.

The vision of the 1960's when almost all of the social changes were accomplished, was sorely missing. We need new ideas. We need to define what is needed to care for this population. Each of us should do what we can do best and well. We must continue the fight for a better life. We must let others know what the battle is all about. We must call and write legislators and force them to do the their work. Above all, we must call them to task when things go awry.

Ah Quon McElrath

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