Voters need to look past sleazy ads | Aug. 12, editorial
Grass-roots group fights tax hikes
I take vigorous exception to the inclusion of Ax the Tax in this editorial.
Ax the Tax is a statewide political committee that has a long history of providing taxpayers with information concerning proposed tax increases and the elected officials who support tax increases.
We have begun our campaign against the proposed Hillsborough County sales tax increase, and included in that education effort is information concerning County Commissioner Mark Sharpe and his reversal on this issue. When Sharpe was elected the first time, he was very much opposed to the rail boondoggle. He is now the leading proponent of the rail disaster.
Ax the Tax has complied with all Florida election laws with very prominent disclaimers indicating that our organization has paid for these messages. We are registered with the state of Florida's Division of Elections and we have total transparency with our campaign reports of who gave it and who got it online 24/7.
Ax the Tax is not a shadowy group set up to distribute nasty mailers. We are a grass-roots organization with a record of helping taxpayers defeat more than $32.5 billion in tax increases in 14 successful battles. Ax the Tax has been engaged in six antirail battles and we have helped taxpayers win every one of those.
Mark Sharpe is a nice guy and a very pleasant man. I supported him when he ran for Congress two decades ago, but he has become an entrenched politician who supports an unnecessary and unwanted tax increase. Taxpayer-enforced term limits are the solution in Sharpe's case.
Additionally, I am a fourth-generation born in Tampa with three Tampa streets named after various members my family. I am no stranger to Tampa as suggested by your editorial. Both I and my family care about Tampa very deeply.
We look forward to a vigorous debate on the issues involved, both in the primary and in the general election.
Doug Guetzloe, Orlando
Parents' role is key
Once again posting of FCAT grades has stirred the ire of parents and school administrators as fingers are pointed and blame is leveled at whoever or whatever can be named the cause. The most blame seems to be placed on the "teaching."
I feel the biggest cause of the problem is the "learning." I have often said that our major problems in education are not in our schools or school districts. They are in our homes. Yes, I agree there is room for improvement in some schools and in some teachers. But it is a fact agreed on by many educators that students who are at or exceed grade level expectations most likely come from homes where parents or caregivers show interest, involvement and encouragement in school studies.
On the other hand, struggling students and those not meeting grade level expectations probably come from homes where little or no interest, involvement and encouragement are displayed. Contrary to the beliefs of many, this is not a problem unique to minorities or the poor. It occurs across the board. Learning and good grades are not things that happen to come to a student. They must be worked for.
Parents, get as involved as you can, even if it is only attending a parent-teacher conference or a PTA meeting. Educating is not a job only for the teacher. It is also part of parenting. Let's take on responsibility and stop pointing the finger elsewhere.
Don Murphy, Clearwater
In all the discussions of the illegal immigration problem we seem to not be focusing on the primary cause, which is relatively easy to eliminate.
Illegals would not come here if there were no jobs. It therefore seems logical that if we eliminate potential jobs, we eliminate a great majority of illegal immigration.
Greedy employers, who would rather pay an illegal a lower wage, are at the center of the problem.
My guess is that if they were fined let's say $100,000 for every illegal found in their employ they would soon realize it is cheaper to pay more competitive wages to American citizens. And if this policy is pursued vigorously enough, we might also pay down a substantial part of the national debt as we discourage illegal immigration.
Larry Silver, Oldsmar
Cut taxes on rich, watch dollars roll in Aug. 11, commentary
Just making the rich richer
Arthur Laffer's amazing hypothesis that cutting taxes for the rich creates untold wealth for the economy is, no pun intended, laughable. Of course it creates untold wealth — for the rich, which they don't need, except to keep score.
If that hypothesis were true, the way to national prosperity would be to exempt all incomes greater than $250,000 from all taxation. Then happiness and prosperity would abound. Of course to keep federal revenues at the normal 18 percent of gross domestic product, taxes would have to be paid by someone. Who do you think?
The idea that taxes "take from the rich and give to the poor," is a coin with two sides. Where do you think the rich got their wealth in the first place? By stiffing their help, and the environment, buying the laws that make and keep them rich, convincing the suckers that capitalism is what they have, and freeing enterprise from the notion of freedom.
Scrapping the tax code is a good idea, but a "simple flat tax" is a bad one. An even simpler no-exceptions 1 percent transactions tax would be best for debt reduction and ultimate prosperity. Look it up.
Bud Tritschler, Clearwater
CEO to leave a profitable GM | Aug. 13, story
What a deal
I read with interest your article about GM, especially since you omitted a recent report that GM is going to build a $500 million plant in Mexico.
I guess that is how they are rewarding our American taxpayers who loaned them $52 billion — by sending more of our jobs out of America.
John Peterpaul, Madeira Beach
Norman has free car, plus allowance Aug. 12, story
Charity seems flush
While it never hurts to have "friends in high places," the Salvation Army's relationship with Jim Norman would surely indicate that it no longer needs financial help from me and that my prior contributions could have been spent more wisely elsewhere.
Just think! When depositing coins in the Army's collection buckets, you are helping fund Jim Norman's "free ride."
Doris Wagner, Riverview