To the Editor:
As all of us are under a hardship from a continued recession for the last five years, it is amazing to learn that there will be another price increase from the Steamship Authority [SSA budget sees price hike to offset $1 million shortfall, September 18].
Why? Well, it has been reported that the budget shows a 2.8 percent increase due to health care benefits for the employees, plus a jump of 5.6 percent for additional pension benefits to employees. Not only does the authority have many more employees than the Coast Guard requires, but the SSA management cannot say no to any of the continuous demands of this labor force.
We have had plenty of tourists, but few of them leave with shopping bags of purchased items. A breakfast costs $15 here at the Island restaurants, whereas it is only $10 in the Cape area. Our prices are sky high, and a major contributor is the ever increasing prices charged by the SSA.
Why cannot the SSA employees contribute to the cost of their own health care or their pensions? Trucks of UPS and Federal Express are very common on our local roads, as all of us know that it is cheaper to buy goods online than to shop locally. Any local coming back from a visit off-Island has a car that is filled with purchased goods at lower prices than are available on the Island.
SSA management, wake up and make the hard decisions to halt these constant and continuous price increases.