Legislature's only plan is more pain | April 9, editorial
Look for ways to boost revenue
The editorial offered some very good examples of money that could be raised, but the main one missing is the elimination of tax exemptions. The many tax exemptions for businesses are a hindrance to our state budget. For too long, Florida has relied on tourists and sales taxes that will not sustain the needs of our growing state, while at the same time our government continues to cater to private interests.
Our Legislature is quick to give our tax money to for-profit corporations (see CSX), but if we continue down this path a state income tax is inevitable. Instead of cutting funds for children, the elderly and the poor, the Legislature should instead be looking at ways to boost revenue while discontinuing corporate handouts.
Of course this may create some hard feelings and reduce campaign contributions! Oh my, we can't have that, can we? Maybe some day we will have elected leaders who actually care about their constituents more than their own wallets, but I won't hold my breath.
Don Mott, Largo
Young's earmarks help his children's employers | April 9, story
Congressman goes too far
Although I am a registered Republican (I must make a choice to vote in primary elections), I can no longer support Congressman C.W. Bill Young. His continual hijacking of millions in taxpayer money for local projects is bad enough, but his disingenuous comments about how defense contractors put his sons on their payrolls is going too far.
Since Young won't retire, is there an honest man or woman out there willing to replace him?
John Wilson, Pinellas Park
Young's earmarks help his children's employers | April 9, story
I saw the article on Rep. C.W. Bill Young "bringing home" millions of dollars, a good deal of which went to the companies his sons work for. I read where pork spending recently exceeded $10-billion and the politicos are thumping their chests bragging about how much they brought home.
Then, in the last few days, politicians have said that the infrastructure is in such bad shape that new taxes are needed to pay for things like road and bridge repairs. Somehow something just does not seem kosher. Our tax dollars — yours and mine — should go to keep in good repair what we have already spent our tax dollars on.
Someone proposed a 25-cents-a-gallon gas tax to repair bridges throughout the country after the disaster in Minnesota, so why are we allowing politicians to waste our tax dollars for pet projects? Where do we get these people? It's about time the majority of America stands up and stops this nonsense.
Terry Tucker, Palm Harbor
To save, try cutting hours
Organizations faced with budget cuts should try hours reductions instead of eliminating positions.
In other words, instead of mass layoffs, give everyone an extra week of unpaid leave per year or two hours per week. In many cases, this would be temporary until conditions improve.
This would result in fewer job losses, fewer unemployment benefits being paid out, fewer foreclosures and bankruptcies as many are tied to unemployment, and less rehiring/retraining for organizations when things improve.
Carl E. Graham, Largo
Spinning the war
Gen. David Petraeus has been giving his assessment of the war in Iraq to a congressional committee in recent days. He doesn't think a reduction in troop levels is advisable in the foreseeable future.
What a shock. Did we really expect anything different? Is a general ever going to voluntarily reduce the size of his army? Are the troop levels and prosecution of the war really his decision alone? The spin doctors who promote this administration portrayed Petraeus as the greatest general since Alexander the Great. These same spin doctors got Bush elected, re-elected and sold the American people on the belief that the war was necessary and critical to our safety.
I mean no disrespect for Gen. Petraeus. I believe he is a competent man and has had a positive impact on the mess in Iraq since he came on the scene. It's a shame he's bogged down in civil war in Iraq. It's too bad he can't help us in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the real threat lies.
Jeff Cutting, Brandon
Staying a failed course
Polls taken about the Iraq war show that about 70 percent of the people think we need a new direction. I think David Petraeus is a fine general and has a very tough job. But when I see him with a chest full of ribbons and medals, it makes me feel he is not going to change direction of the war, no matter what the polls say. After all it's his job.
President Bush says stay the course, we're making progress. Sen. John McCain thinks the surge is working. For the most part it's not true. The bombing, destruction and deaths continue. After five years are the Iraqi people better off? Are we better off? Was it worth it? Bush will never convince me.
Dominic Grillo, Dunedin
A cost too high
My husband and I listened to the talks with senators and Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Cocker. There were many very good points made. However, the one thing I feel was missing is the fact that we as Americans can no longer afford the cost of this war. When I think of the things that are not being done in this nation, it gives me chills. I know that former Secretary of State Colin Powell said some years ago that if you break it you must fix it. We can no longer pay the cost of fixing Iraq.
It is time we bring our troops home for no political reason other than it is breaking our country. There are so many things that need doing in this nation. We have to start trying to fix things here. Our economy can no longer afford this cost.
LaTreetha E. Sharpley, Spring Hill
Saying "no experience" is no fair | April 8, PolitiFact
A stretch on experience
It is no surprise that you have already selected your candidate for president. But to state that because he "participated in debates on … the war," "helped to write an exemption to the 1954 Atomic Energy Act" and "toured a weapons destruction facility" and that this constitutes national security experience is a serious stretch.
Gary Grubbs, Largo
Court backs ban on Allstate | April 5, story
Action and reaction
Great news! Hopefully now the state insurance commissioner will get the documents to fully investigate Allstate's requested 43 percent rate increase.
The "You're in good hands with Allstate" company canceled my homeowner's insurance at renewal time after 25 years, so I did the same. I canceled my Allstate automobile insurance policy at renewal time and saved $600 a year by doing so.
Henry Russell, Palm Harbor