Wednesday, June 20, 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

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18