Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3

Small businesses get tax relief

The Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax relief we’ve seen in three decades.

Small business owners like me — and the millions of employees who depend on us — couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present. For years, our nation’s job creators have been inundated with high tax rates and complex filing costs. Many small business owners are taxed at individual rates, which can reach 40 percent at the federal level. Throw in state and local taxes, and these job creators are often left sending 50 percent of their income to Uncle Sam.

The Republican tax plan allows them to keep more of their hard-earned money, freeing up resources for business expansion and job creation. America is home to nearly 30 million small businesses, which employ roughly 60 million workers — half of the U.S. workforce. Tax cuts would encourage job creators to hire even more Americans.

When small business succeeds, we all succeed. Let’s ring in the New Year with pro-growth tax cuts.

Joseph Semprevivo, Sebastian

The writer is president and CEO of Joseph’s Lite Cookies.

Trump gives official endorsement to Moore
Dec. 5

Immoral acts overlooked

The Republican Party continues to demonstrate a lack of moral clarity despite the vast cultural shift on sexual harassment currently underway. In an interview with CBS, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shifted his stance and refused to condemn Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been credibly accused of child molestation. Previously, McConnell was on record as believing the victims who came forward with detailed accounts of Moore’s sexual abuse. He urged Moore to exit the race and said he was unfit to serve in the Senate. Now the senator says, "I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call."

"The voters have spoken" mantra is a pathetic defense of immoral behavior and is the same rationale used when defending President Donald Trump, also accused of sexual misconduct by 16 women, all of whom Trump has called liars. Moore says his accusers are all liars as well.

Moore has the full support of Trump, and if elected will likely not be subject to expulsion from the Senate because his vote along party lines overrides all else, including the moral high ground. McConnell’s about-face represents a profound erosion in the Republican Party’s core values.

Jim Paladino, Tampa

Bullying bill is a voucher smokescreen
Nov. 26, editorial

Student now feels safe

I considered myself part of the Campbell Park Elementary family. Not only did four of my children attend this school, but I was so actively involved in volunteering and PTA meetings that I was often mistaken for staff. So it was a surprise to find that my daughter Tanijah was bullied as long as she was.

Bullying started early in first grade and continued to get worse until fourth. It started out as name-calling and teasing but by fourth grade the bullying became physical.

My kids have had great teachers at Campbell Park, so I’m not sure why they or the principals weren’t able to stop the bullying. I couldn’t wait any longer. My daughter needed a safe school now.

Thankfully, I qualified for the Tax Credit Scholarship and enrolled Tanijah at Academy Prep of St. Petersburg. Academy Prep handles bullying issues immediately. The girls have one-on-one meetings with the head of the school and counselor, and group meetings where the girls are required to say something nice to each other. The principal and teachers call to discuss problems. Not only do I feel like I’m finally being heard, but I also know I’ve found a place where Tanijah will be safe.

I think the Hope Scholarship is an awesome idea and I hope that parents take advantage of it.

The Times once called Campbell Park a "failure factory." My two boys still attend and I hope the school continues to improve. But I believe that if a parent feels their child isn’t safe, they should have a right to enroll their child somewhere else.

Chikara Parks, St. Petersburg

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3

Middle class loses out

The Republican Senate has managed to pass a tax overhaul, despite knowing that it was projected to add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt under even the most optimistic assumptions. Democrats have opposed this bill as a giant tax cut for the rich, which it is, but more emphasis should be given to the fact that the "loopholes" closed are things that benefit the middle class, such as state and local tax deduction and health care expense deduction. And while the standard deduction is doubled, elimination of the personal exemption makes the "middle class tax cut" for most taxpayers so small that it will be swallowed up by rising health insurance premiums, thanks to Republican efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act.

Worst of all, the massive deficits caused by the Republican tax bill will undoubtedly be used as an excuse for cutting Medicare and Social Security, which middle class taxpayers rely on as the foundation of a secure retirement. Republicans have shown their true colors by passing this bill. Voters need to remember this next November.

Susan Hofstader, St. Petersburg

Our pockets were picked

The Republican Donors’ Tax Relief Act of 2017 is ready to increase our national debt obligation by $1 trillion. Each U.S. citizen’s debt obligation just increased by $3,077. Of course not all citizens pay taxes. The debt obligation per U.S. taxpayer is a larger number, and just increased by $8,310.

As a taxpayer, I was just handed an $8,310 future debt obligation against $500 in immediate tax savings. And the Republican Senate says this is a good thing. A little outrage is in order here. All taxpayers have had their pockets picked by a Republican Party that once stood for fiscal responsibility.

Robert Clarke, St. Petersburg


Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

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