Our governments overtax citizens
I don't think our local, county, state or federal governments understand what the majority of us hardworking, overtaxed and overcharged citizens need and want for the dollar value we "might" get in return.
We are overtaxed with all taxes: payroll, property, Social Security, Medicare, sales, local, state and federal. If you don't believe it, just ask yourself what our Founding Fathers would do if they were being taxed like we are?
And we are overcharged for all insurances: medical, health, life, home and auto, and overcharged all fuels, plus utilities (because they are all basically monopolies), plus housing, transportation, savings, food and water. It isn't a matter of supply and demand; it's the lowering of the nickel's value.
We need and are demanding to see results in the reductions of all these costs. And we are not fooled by watching you reduce one area of taxes only to formulate scenarios to raise our costs in other taxes, licenses, fees ( like in park access and emergency services). Quit robbing Peter (us), to pay Paul (you)!
How do you do this? First, cut your own nickel and all other higher-echelon employees' pay, benefits and subsidies, plus the cost of consulting and outside studies, change orders, reimbursements and dependencies. If you can't do the job at lower wages, quit. We'll replace you with whoever you've been using to do the jobs you were either elected, contracted or hired for with personnel from the pools of consultants and studies experts you so quickly jump to contract.
I propose this law to be passed: That for every major company, government bureaucracy and similar institutions and businesses where many lower-end workers are dependent on their income for life's necessities from paycheck to paycheck that before any one individual on the bottom tier of employment can be laid off or fired to reduce operating costs, upper management, beginning with the highest-paid and most responsible, must take cuts in pay and benefits amounting to reductions until their nickels are lowered to the equivalent of the lowest-paid employees they intend to lay off.
If nothing else, it would help to save the unemployment insurance benefits banked.
Here's the solution: Find ways to increase the value of the dollar we all work so hard to obtain, and maybe, just maybe, we'll determine you have become worth the raises you so generously give yourselves. But you aren't worth a plug-nickel to us now!
Mike Farahay, Weeki Wachee
Marines are indignant, fairgrounds group digs in Sept. 21 Dan Dewitt column
Toys for Tots is all about helping kids
I think Dan Dewitt and the fairgrounds are missing the point here. I am one of those volunteers who have offered my services for many years with the Toys for Tots program. I work six days a week for approximately six weeks out of every year.
The Toys for Tots program gives the needy children of Hernando County a hope for a nice Christmas, which some of them might not have if we weren't there to help. The point I think that is being misrepresented or missed is that, yes, the fairgrounds gave us space to use, but the main purpose is for the kids of Hernando County.
Most of the time we were there, the other buildings were vacant with a few exceptions. I could understand the fairgrounds people being "indignant" if we used the building for our own good. But in reality, the only reason we are there or I am there, is not for the Marines, it is all for the children.
I guess the bottom line is that the fairgrounds is more concerned about their bottom line then helping the children of Hernando County. It seems to this person that it is all about money!
Alice Rusconi, Spring Hill
Setting good examples can makes roads safer | Sept. 18 C.T. Bowen column
Tough seat-belt law would help
Your column chronicled the careless, rude or self-absorbed adult drivers so well. We need good adult role models for our teens. On the other hand, teens are eager to become drivers and do not have the maturity or experience to understand the dangers on our overcrowded roads full of those careless, rude and self-absorbed drivers you have witnessed.
Our children are our future and we want to protect them at all costs. I lost my first-born granddaughter at age 16 on March 4, 2006. She was not wearing her seat belt. Her belted driver survived with barely a scratch but had dozed at the wheel. There were no drugs or alcohol. Just simply being tired. And it was only 10:30 on a Friday night. Katie was thrown from her car and then run over by an unsuspecting motorist.
Since that time my daughter and her husband have created The Katie Marchetti Memorial Foundation to increase the use of seat belts among teens. Florida has a primary seat belt law for drivers under the age of 18. However, if the parents do not buckle up, then the kids do not buckle up. Parents are the role models, the enforcers. Since Florida has failed year after year to pass a primary seat belt law for 18 years and older, law enforcement has its hands tied. As a result, they do not enforce the law for those under 18 since they often cannot tell the difference in the driver's age of 17, 18 or even 19. The only way a person 18 and over can be stopped for not wearing a seat belt is if there is another infraction like speeding, a broken tail light or even loud music within a certain distance.
Next year, 2009, is the last year Florida will have a chance to receive $35.5-million for enacting a primary safety belt law. Imagine how Florida could put to good use $35.5-million to educate and protect its citizens. Florida continues to be the only state in the southeast that does not have a primary seat belt law.
For the last two years our foundation has distributed almost 12,000 seat belt pledges each year to the 25 high schools in Hillsborough County for students, who request parking decals at school, to sign. This year Pasco County schools implemented these seat belt pledges.
In November, the Community Traffic Safety Team will conduct the "Battle of the Belts" competition with all 25 Hillsborough County High School to increase seat belt awareness and reward the winning schools with cash prizes. Pasco County plans to introduce its "Battle of the Belts" competition this year as well.
Our foundation has created a Click It or Ticket public service announcement. It can be viewed at www.katiesstory.com and you can download our seat belt pledge for students to sign to promise to always wear a seat belt. We don't want another parent to travel the painful journey of losing their child in such a preventable way.
Dianne Sipe, Valrico
Veterans earned a tax reduction
All veterans who served out of the United States during World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Iraq War, who risked their lives for the U.S. deserve a 50 percent property tax reduction on all property they own, as long as they and their spouses are still living.
Most World War II veterans are closer to their last days. A fair tax should pass now.
C. L. Russo, Garden Grove (Staff Sgt., U.S. Marine Corps, 1941-46)
Who's going to fix crisis? Same folks
I have an urgent financial emergency.
Is the patient still breathing?
Yes, but it's very shallow.
Does the patient still have a heartbeat?
Yes, but it's very weak.
What about the color of the lips? Blue.
Where do you live?
On Main Street America; please send help quick.
Okay, okay just one more question: Are you a liberal or conservative?
Please spare me (click).
That call could have come from an auto plant in Michigan, a coal mine in Pennsylvania, a factory worker in Ohio, a real estate broker in California, or Florida, or a senior citizen in Nebraska or Iowa. It could be your neighbor, your parents, your grandparents, or it might even be you.
Safe to say, people are hurting in significant numbers all across America, and if the financial fiasco of the last few days is any indication, more hurt may be on the way. We are not talking about chump change here, this is serious money, and this is real debt our government is putting on the backs of this and future generations; hundreds of billions of dollars, and to what end? The American people have become victims of a what's-in-it-for-me political system fueled by corporate greed at all levels. This dastardly, deceitful band of hooligans have dined on our cherries and left us with the pits.
Who are we looking at to get us out of this financial mess? Why of course, the very same band of dastardly, deceitful hooligans who gave us this mess in the first place.
They'll come up something like the Social Security fix of 25 years ago. That combined effort gave birth to the Social Security tax that takes billions of extra tax dollars out of average working American's paychecks every week, and carts the funds off to Washington where its spent on something other than intended.
Jim Gries, Weeki Wachee