Sunday, February 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday’s letters: End greyhound racing in Florida

Tom Lee wants to phase out greyhound racing | Nov. 8

Put a stop to this cruel industry

Kudos to Sen. Tom Lee for shepherding a constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing in Florida. Greyhounds forced to race live in misery and frequently die in misery. Illness and injuries — including broken legs, heatstroke and heart attacks — claim the lives of many dogs.

Countless greyhounds are also killed each year when breeders decide that the dogs won’t be fast enough to win races. Dogs have been shot, bludgeoned, or simply dumped to fend for themselves. Those who make the first cut live on borrowed time: Their lives are secure only as long as they make money for their owners. Some discarded dogs suffer on blood factory farms; they are jammed in cramped cages and their blood is repeatedly taken and sold to veterinarians for transfusions to other dogs. They go crazy from stress and lack of space.

The greyhound racing industry is dying. In recent years, dozens of tracks have closed to live racing in the United States and attendance has plummeted.

Florida legislators need to do the right thing and end this cruel industry.

Jennifer O’Connor, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.

Corruption trial

Menendez coverage lacking

How can the Tampa Bay Times call itself a newspaper when there is a very important trial going on in New Jersey and the Times does not print one word about it? Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, is on trial and faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

I realize that the Times is busy trashing President Donald Trump and members of his family and administration on a daily basis, but you would think that the trial of a powerful Democratic senator on charges of corruption would earn space in a real newspaper. I can only imagine the stories we would read if Menendez were a Republican.

James Wallace, Gulfport

Tax reform

Middle class won’t win

For eight years all we’ve heard from Republicans is "the deficit" and how our legacy to our children will be this huge mountain of debt. Now that they occupy the White House and have a majority in Congress, they propose tax cuts projected to create a $1.5 trillion deficit.

They tell us this will result in an economic expansion, creating additional revenue so that the tax cut will more than pay for itself. President Donald Trump has predicted that the country will actually make a profit as a windfall from new revenues will come surging into the Treasury. Unfortunately, our country’s economic academics have completely debunked that premise.

Other supporters talk about how the average middle class family will have an additional $1,000 to spend, but remain totally silent about how 80 percent of the tax reduction will directly benefit those individuals earning over $1 million per year. No one likes paying taxes and everyone would like and extra $80 per month in their pocket, but it should be clear when reading the fine print that other limitations or exclusions to tax deductions — including those for medical care, education credits, dependent care and state and local taxes — will significantly dilute or completely eliminate the tax reduction for many in the middle class.

Regarding the corporate tax reform measures, the proposed excise tax on revenue being diverted to overseas subsidiaries for the sole purpose of tax avoidance makes a lot of sense, as does the low one-time tax to repatriate funds sitting overseas. These changes are beneficial and supportable, as is some modest reduction in the corporate rate. But a reduction to 20 percent is totally over the top. Shareholders will be the prime beneficiaries.

Even when counting indirect holdings in retirement accounts and mutual funds, the richest 10 percent of U.S. residents account for about 80 percent of American-owned stocks, and the richest 1 percent own about 40 percent.

Gary Cohen, Tampa

Busting the budget

I am concerned that the tax bill would increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. We already have put too high a financial burden on the next generation with the current deficit.

And I don’t understand why the wealthy need such a large tax decrease. Neither the Reagan tax decreases nor the George W. Bush tax decreases helped spur the economy or increase jobs.

If we are going to increase the deficit by that much, I think the money should be invested in our country’s deteriorating infrastructure, which will definitely increase jobs; to make our country safer and more secure; to improve our quality of life; and to make our country more attractive to business.

We are a middle-class family whose taxes would increase under both the House and Senate tax bills. I understand that trade-offs are necessary to reform taxes. However, it is not acceptable to me that I’m going to pay more money so the wealthy well receive a huge tax break. I can’t think of any reason that the estate tax needs to be repealed. It is only paid by people who inherit over $5 million!

Georgia Earp, St. Petersburg

It’s not that complicated

Why is reducing the taxes on the middle class so complicated? Instead of rushing to deliver a complicated tax plan by year’s end, why not just reduce the bottom two tax rates from 10 and 15 percent to 8 and 13 percent? If that grows the deficit too much, the percentage could be adjusted.

This would give the Republicans the tax reduction win that they want and the Democrats the focus on the middle class that they want. Families of four making $50,000, $75,000, $100,000 and those above $114,000 would see tax reductions of about $400, $900, $1,400 and $1,500 respectively.

Bob Peretti, Tarpon Springs

Comments

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Challenges in Hillsborough foster care

Foster failures under scrutiny | Feb. 10Challenges in foster care systemNo young person deserves to be treated as shown in the Ch. 8 segment on Youth and Family Alternatives Inc., an Eckerd Connects subcontractor. It is difficult to fathom how th...
Published: 02/12/18

Saturday’s letters: We’re all just trying to get home, one zip tie at a time

I detest Trump, but a ‘redneck’ fixed my Prius with zip ties | Feb. 3, Ruth Mayer columnWe’re all just trying to get homeLike columnist Ruth Mayer, I too am trying to find my level ground, my level-set. I too have held a tremendously deep resentm...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Let’s make America good again

Everyone loves a parade | Feb. 9, editorialI’ll sit on the sidelinesAs a 30-year veteran I was appalled at the president’s plan for a military parade. Having marched in numerous parades in my career I can say without hesitation that members of th...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18