Sales tax increase was for road work
How can you possibly raise the gas tax another five cents? What happened to the 1 percent sales tax, part of which was supposed to go for the roads?
What are the people who drive to work every day going to do? People who use gas for their businesses will have to raise the price of their products. It goes on and on, and it has gone on for too many years now. People are struggling as it is. How much more can you take from us before we have to leave Pasco County??
I am retired on a fixed income which does not go up every year as does everything else.
Allen Kotter, New Port Richey
Taxpayers can't afford to pay more
I am curious if Commissioner Ted Schrader drives a county car and gets free gas. Many of our public employees are provided with perks that exclude them from the increases that they propose taxpayers pay.
Time for our public officials to wake up and realize that the taxpayers are struggling and make due with the revenues they are currently getting.
H.G. Shirer, New Port Richey
Editor's note: Pasco commissioners are not issued county-owned vehicles.
Commission has its own loophole
It is dismaying that Pasco commissioners have chosen to postpone consideration of closing the gun-show loophole on background checks.
Waiting to see the outcome of legal cases in other counties is just an excuse for those commissioners who want nothing to do with any sort of rational gun laws. If this is the case, they should have the courage to state their position without relying on this convenient crutch. Then we, the voters, would know where they stand when the next election comes around.
Larry Schmitt, Hudson
Commissioners should speak up
I am urging county commissioners, as public servants, to vote to close the gun-show loophole. It is important that we stop ignoring the facts. We can make Pasco County a safer county for its residents and voters.
The people who should not be allowed to have a gun — criminals, mentally ill and domestic abusers — don't need to find someone to buy a gun for them in Pasco County, or any other county near us. Just come to Pasco's flea markets and gun shows. With a private seller there's no background checking and no waiting. It's so simple. Pay for a gun and walk out with the gun the same day. Use the gun that same day or night.
Do you understand how terrible that sounds? The big argument against closing the loophole is that the criminals get their guns from stealing or the black markets, so why make this change. It won't stop the bad guys from getting guns. Well, think about it. With the gun-show loophole in this county, they don't have to pay extra for a stolen or second-hand gun in the black market. They just come to Pasco County where the commissioners think that background checks would be unhealthy for private sellers at these places. It may stop people from going to gun shows or dealers at the flea markets and that would hurt business.
Please go through with the hearing on the gun-show loophole. Let the public hear your answers and let the public speak in front of you to tell you their feelings about this. This is a democratic society and the people want their say.
Jim Simons, New Port Richey
Represent people or leave office
Once again, our elected Pasco commissioners refuse to acknowledge the will of their constituents by refusing to act on closing the gun-show loophole.
National polling indicates 91 percent of those surveyed support universal background checks on all gun purchases. Addressing the loophole does not infringe on Second Amendment rights; it enhances public safety. If our commissioners refuse to step up and represent us, it's time for them to step down.
Jean Cifelli, New Port Richey
Bill could save lives of newborns
There is legislation in Tallahassee that could save hundreds of young lives across Florida, but the bill is not moving in the House of Representatives.
A simple, two-minute test measuring oxygen levels in the blood of a newborn could mean the difference between survival and death. Two bills that would require this kind of testing before a newborn leaves a birthing facility are pending in the Legislature. This is one of those rare examples of legislation that everyone should be able to support.
House Bill 81 and Senate Bill 124 would require that pulse oximetry, as it is known, be performed on every newborn before going home. The noninvasive test can detect if the oxygen level in the baby's blood is low, which could mean the infant has an undetected heart defect that needs to be treated.
Though the Senate bill has moved through its first two committees, the House of Representatives has not heard the bill yet, and the time to hear it is slipping away.
The American Heart Association, which is urging support for the screening, has heard from many families who have taken home an infant thinking the child is healthy only to later notice cold hands and feet, bluish color, mottled skin, difficulty breathing or eating. The screening test could help spot these problems early on and even prevent an infant from going into heart failure.
This change to newborn screening is being considered in over half of the state capitals across the country. Over half of Florida's hospitals already conduct the test. The legislation would have the Department of Health's newborn screening program implement it in all birthing centers.
It's estimated that congenital heart disease affects from seven to nine of every 1,000 live births in the country.
The costs associated with implementing the testing are minimal — as little as $2 for a two-minute test. Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and the other members of the House could prevent a lot of heartache as well as a lot of burden on the public by adopting this simple step. This measure is supported by the American College of Cardiology, the Florida Society of Pediatrics, the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Nurses Association and the Florida Hospital Association.
Jenna Winzenburg, Tampa