Who’s watching the spending

We’ve written here often that health insurers and governments live in different worlds than the average citizen.

How else to explain double-digit increases in premiums and governmental budgets?

Mayor Alan Arakawa’s proposed $622 million budget is $63 million more than the current year’s number for Maui County – a whopping 11.3 percent increase.

OK, everybody who got an 11 percent or more hike in your pay this year, raise your hands. Hmm . . . the only hands we see raised are the mayor’s and council members’. If you’ll recall, the mayor received a 19 percent raise last July and council members got 15 percent more.

People who live on Social Security got a 1.5 percent increase on Dec. 31. Many workers got less than that.

The point is that while the mayor is trying to pressure the state to lift the cap on the counties’ transient accommodations tax share by threatening more property taxes and higher fees, the basic problem is that county spending is out of control.

There is no way to justify a double-digit increase in spending. No entity – county, state or federal government – can saddle its citizenry with paying for that kind of growth.

If the cost of living went up 1.5 percent, why is the cost of Maui County’s government going up at a rate of seven times that?

While we agree with the mayor about lifting the TAT cap, there is absolutely no justification for another property tax increase. If Maui County real estate is going up in value, the county property taxes will grow right along with it. If it isn’t going up, residents can’t afford an increase.

Our only hope is that the County Council will carve a bunch of spending out of this budget.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.