Children's Board to cut funding | Aug. 26
Need for programs never greater
Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the Children's Board. As the Times has recently pointed out, the board and its funded programs will have a muted celebration as the economy, and specifically the poor housing market, have deeply gashed the budget of this valuable community resource.
Due to these cuts in funding, some successful programs will go under. Many more will be severely impaired and have to lay off staffers, further adding to unemployment. But the biggest losers are the children and families who benefit tremendously from the quality programs that receive funding from the board. With so many people dealing with everything that comes with losing their jobs, losing homes, and raising children with special needs or disabilities, the need for the Children's Board has never been greater.
In 1988, the citizens of Hillsborough County voted to dedicate a small portion of their property taxes to serve the needs of children in our neighborhoods. This independent taxing district became known as the "Children's Board of Hillsborough County." There are only nine such children's services councils in Florida, and even with diminished financial resources, their communities are lucky to have them. Since 1988, the Children's Board has helped thousands of children and families by funding programs that provide services and support.
If you are a homeowner, look at your monthly tax bill. On average, it costs $4.03 a month (less than a meal at McDonald's) or $48.40 annually, less than many folks spend for an evening out. In 2016, this community will have the opportunity to recommit to the board and its investment in healthy babies, young children ready to learn in kindergarten, and strong families and neighborhoods. Isn't a child worth $4.03 a month?
Stephen C. Martaus, Tampa
Tie taxes to job creation
I would like to address the "corporations are people" principle being voiced by Mitt Romney and other so-called conservatives who believe we should not raise taxes on the nation's top 2 percent.
If corporations are people, it would be reasonable to expect them to operate in the best interests of the country in which they are citizens. Does anyone really believe that banks, insurance companies and other big businesses will operate in the best interests of the United States if left unregulated? Didn't the crash of 2008 teach us anything?
We are being inundated with talking points suggesting we should not raise taxes on the so-called job creators. This rhetoric ignores the empirical evidence that tax cuts do not create jobs. The Bush tax cuts were extended months ago but unemployment got worse, and American corporations are sitting on billions of dollars.
Giving the believers of this rhetoric the benefit of the doubt, I suggest that the tax rates for the rich be determined by the nation's unemployment rate. This may hold the companies who are benefiting from these tax cuts accountable and keep them from outsourcing jobs.
Gary Battane, Largo
Fewer businesses mean fewer jobs | Aug. 30
Florida needs new plan
As this article shows, Florida's business plan needs to be revised. The way the economics of Florida has worked over the last 100 years is that houses are built; people move into the state; restaurants and grocery stores open; more teachers and police are hired; and on it goes. This uncontrolled growth isn't the best for Florida, but that is how our jobs engine has run.
But when the housing market collapsed, the related businesses of construction, finance, insurance and real estate also collapsed. And so went the jobs.
Gov. Rick Scott's answer is that the businesses will come back if you remove the taxes. But when you remove the taxes you remove the things that bring the people. Good schools, good roads, police and fire protection all cost money. Why would people want to come to a state that can't meet the basic needs of the community? And without the people, of course, there are no new businesses. Maybe Scott's plan also needs to be revised.
Rick France, Tampa
Wars drive our deficits
I am tired of the Republicans trying to put Social Security on the chopping block. They have been after it for years.
Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. The three wars that we have been fighting are the biggest problem. Before now, every war the United States was in was paid for by taxes.
Without Social Security, millions of us could end up homeless.
Joseph Conn, Spring Hill
Bachmann: We're 'daddy dogs' of fuel Aug. 28
No respect for nature
It is difficult to reconcile Michele Bachmann's "giving her heart to Jesus" with an agenda contrary to the teachings of faith. I thought we were supposed to be the guardians of the Earth and its resources, and that our responsibility was to conserve them so our children inherit a better place.
Bachmann claims she would shut the Environmental Protection Agency, which "kills jobs." She must mean the rules that don't allow companies to dump chemicals into our waterways and air like they could for years.
As for the crowd that "cheered wildly," I guess they don't see the problem with putting immediate monetary gain above protecting the Earth and the religious teachings they grew up with.
Bobbi Bottone, Treasure Island
St. Petersburg plan for keeping Rays Aug. 31, commentary
Prepare for battle
It still looks like St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster is throwing up a wall of mystery and preparing to do battle if necessary. Hopefully he has outside legal counsel, as the owners of the team are no slouches judging from their past.
M. Chaplin, Palm Harbor
Undermining city's position
This article by Mayor Bill Foster makes it clear that there is no real plan to keep the Rays in St. Petersburg. Foster undermines the city's position by supporting the efforts of private groups to keep the Rays as a regional, rather than a St. Petersburg, asset. That encourages the Rays to look elsewhere.
Marvin Honig, St. Petersburg