Re: Arctic drilling may reduce U.S. gas prices | June 26, guest column
Republicans have betrayed values
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, as a longtime Republican turned independent, you blaming Democrats for the Republicans' lack of leadership on energy policy over the past 7 1/2 years is ridiculous. The two good-old-oil boys occupying the White House those 7 1/2 years have pushed and defended tax breaks for "Big Oil" time and time again, while showing little or no interest in promoting alternative sources of energy.
The Republicans have failed in so many ways without an energy policy. The big players within the Republican party believed the free markets would solve any energy problem; they didn't. They wouldn't even let California experiment with more stringent requirements on auto mileage and clean air.
By action or inaction, the Republican leadership on economic policy over the past 25 years has brought great, and probably irreversible, damage to the American people. From the American Revolution, through recessions/depressions, wars and world wars, the national debt was about $1-trillion when Ronald Reagan took office. With Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich promoting "Supply Side" or "Trickle Down" economics — all voodoo economics — they managed to triple the national debt to $3-trillion in eight years when Reagan left office. Under Reagan, George Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. The national debt is now approaching $10-trillion. I'm no fan of former President Bill Clinton, but the debt changed relatively little during his eight years in office.
Americans keep falling for the same old Republican story on taxes and economics, and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to pay the price. They may already have started paying the price.
The right-wing neocons in the Republican party believe in totally free markets, free from rules, regulations and government oversight. This has brought the American people the home Savings and Loans debacle, Enron-type failures, the recent collapse of the real estate market, and many other failures within our economic system. The Republicans forget that bad greed, unchecked and unguarded, will always lead to failure. We can argue where to draw the line on regulation.
The remnants of the Reagan, Gingrich and Tom Delay right-wing ideology still permeate the Republican party. That ideology is sick, stale and un-Christian. Hopefully, the moderate Republicans will regain control of the party some day.
Ken Lang, Spring Hill
Re: Impact fee reduction has a negative effect | June 24, Times editorial
Leave impact fees the way they are
The Hernando County commissioners are considering the reduction of impact fees in order to take advantage of an opportunity to share in the $20-million state affordable housing fund for first-time buyers. In addition, the commission rationalizes this could stimulate the economy. This misconception will have nothing but a negative impact on the residents of Hernando County.
First, consider the amount of money that would be available if the funds are shared equally among all the counties in Florida. It would roughly represent $300,000 per county. Is this worth wreaking total havoc on all the homeowners in the county for a few to buy homes for the first time?
Look at it this way: If impact fees are reduced it means that the market value of the first time buyer's house is reduced by that amount. Then the market value of all existing houses will ultimately be reduced by that amount in order to stay competitive, if owners elected to sell. Furthermore, the impact fee reduction is available not only to first-time buyers, but to all buyers.
What does this mean? It means that all future homes built in the county will pay lower impact fees. Thus, less money will be available for infrastructure.
So, how do we make up for this difference? We either increase real estate taxes, increase sales taxes or issue bonds. So, for the small number of first-time home buyers who would benefit, a large number of residents would suffer. Furthermore, by reducing the impact fees and thus property values, real estate fees collected by the county would be reduced.
The only group that benefits from such a reduction is the home builders. It should be noted they are the only sector trying to influence the commission to take such action.
I realize our commissioners are influenced by business people because they help fill their coffers at election time. I would hope that in this case they will put their concerns for residents first.
John J. Davis, Brooksville