GOP lawmakers utter heresy: taxes | Jan. 18, story
Florida needs an income tax
It's about time that the GOP decided to come out of the feudal era. We have a fiscal mess that is not going to be fixed until the Legislature restructures the tax system in the state.
In a civilized society, it is the role of government to do for its citizens that which they cannot do for themselves. The price of living in a civilized society is paying one's fair share of the taxes necessary to support that government.
It is time for those who profit most from living in a civilized society to pay their fair share of the taxes for the services that put them where they are and protect them so they can maintain those positions.
It is time for the Legislature to institute a progressive, graduated income tax to run the state government. Then, property taxes can be reduced and used only to support local government and education. The state could also use a portion of those income taxes to support education as well.
It is also time to terminate "highest and best use" assessments in favor of assessing property as it is for what it is. As it is now, we are expropriating properties and lifetimes of work and living to give it away to entities that don't vote but, rather, buy government consideration at the expense of citizens.
It is time for the GOP-controlled Legislature to come out of the Middle Ages and join us in the 21st century to fix our fiscal mess.
Mark Schumerth, St. Pete Beach
A new tack on taxes | Jan. 22, editorial
Too many lawmakers are blinded by ideology
Surely the Times does not expect that the Republicans may close some of the tax loopholes given to corporations rather than make "more spending cuts that would do irreparable harm to education, social services and other programs."
Had their leaders any intention in that direction they would have permitted some discussion during the special session. Their ideology that government is bad, business good, blinds them to the needs of the people.
Alvin W. Wolfe, Lutz
Gas tax a plus
Adding a tax of 15 to 35 cents per gallon of gas would have several immediate and long-term benefits. The state would take in much-needed revenue for transportation infrastructure construction and maintenance, as well as for public transportation. The state transportation projects would require workers, thus generating more jobs in that sector.
Elevating the price per gallon of gas would help maintain the momentum toward more economical vehicles, alternative fuels and better driving habits. The additional money from the higher gas prices paid in Florida would stay in Florida. Florida could be seen as a good example for other states to follow. The additional cost per gallon would be small compared to the good it could be doing.
Margaret Chiarelli, Largo
Read Adam Smith | Jan. 21, letter
The need for taxes
The letter writer is wise to point out that certain economic philosophies, Keynesian included, do not always fit a particular moment or situation. We must remember that The Wealth of Nations was written in a very different world than our global, postindustrial economy. Still, one particular element of Smith's view on taxes is timely and worth reconsidering:
"I. The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state. The expense of government to the individuals of a great nation is like the expense of management to the joint tenants of a great estate, who are obliged to contribute in proportion to their respective interests in the estate. — The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chapter II, Part 2 ,"Of Taxes"
Should the wealthiest Americans pay taxes, as Smith says, according to how much they have benefited from our great nation, how might the public coffers look today?
Gregory Byrd, Ph.D., Clearwater
Cigarette tax hike finds favor | Jan. 23, story
Tax fatty foods
I find it interesting that most Floridians want to raise the tax on cigarettes. I can only reason that they think it is a nasty or repulsive habit. Lord knows the media tell them it is enough times.
But what those folks ought to be considering is raising the tax on dangerous things. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the No. 1 cause for deaths in the United States is heart disease. And what do they say is a leading cause of heart disease? Obesity.
People need only look around the next time they go shopping and they will see that obesity is as common as spandex in Florida.
So why don't we raise the taxes on doughnuts and Twinkies? How about fast food? More people in Florida eat at fast food joints than smoke, so let's cover the largest tax base possible. Let's tax fat people's habits. If every overweight person in Florida paid an extra dollar every time they got super-sized, Florida would be rich!
Les Rayburn, Dade City
How a heathen can make resolutions that will stick | Jan. 18, Floridian story
Usually I have a great deal of respect for scientists and other learned men and women who painstakingly study all natural phenomena. But the "findings" described in this article are so laughably ironic that I must register a kind of shocked amusement.
It seems that "researchers around the world have repeatedly found that devoutly religious people … live longer … (and are) generally happier" than nonbelievers. They even do better in school! And, most surprising of all, "religious belief and piety promote self-control!"
Just a cursory glance at history refutes this preposterous idea. What "self-control," for instance, was shown by the conquistadors who came to these shores and forcibly baptized crowds of natives and slaughtered other crowds as they claimed the land for God and Spain? How nobly restrained were the stern, pious Puritans of Salem when they tried and executed helpless women believed to be witches? Was the destruction of the twin towers by Muslim fanatics on Sept. 11, 2001, an instance of religiously induced "self-control"? And even today, the horror of rockets and bombs takes over the quarrels of religious factions.
Yet, "religiosity correlates with higher self-control," one scientist says firmly. If only …
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon
2009 March for Life
On Thursday hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion on demand. Some 50-million unborn children have lost their lives because of this Supreme Court decision.
As usual, the mainstream media in their attempt to marginalize the prolife movement chose to ignore the march.
If the group marching had been advocating gay rights, civil rights or feminist rights, it would have been given front-page status with a big headline and an accompanying story.
You do your readers a disservice by ignoring a news story that would have been of interest to them.
Sharon DiPiazza, Seffner
Crist's approval rating
The voters of Florida continue to amaze me. If there was ever a politician more adept at blowing smoke with "feel-good" sound bites while doing nothing for the state, it's our present governor.
Yet the public gives him a 67 percent approval rate. How is this possible? Are they getting "what the people want"?
I, for one, would like some leadership.
Bill Castleman, Seminole