Saturday, February 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Fair Economy Act plugs budget holes

Fair Economy Act

Close loopholes for big companies

Recently a group of legislators filed the Fair Economy Act in Tallahassee. This bill, which is intended to close corporate tax loopholes for major corporations that are avoiding their income tax obligations, is a major step toward responsibly closing our budget shortfall in Florida.

Small business owners and middle-class Floridians pay their fair share of taxes. It's time that multibillion-dollar corporations that are reaping record profits do the same.

The most interesting part of this legislation is that it never imposes a tax increase on anyone, but instead seeks to make the system fairer for small business owners and middle-class families by making it harder for large corporations to skirt their tax obligation.

This is a common sense solution to our budget problems that I hope all of our leaders will support.

Daniel Rubin, Tampa

Plans for PIP aim at fraud | Jan. 14

Clinics serve vital function

As the owner of a clinic that takes care of injured drivers in Pinellas County, I think there should be great concern about a PIP bill that recently passed a committee along party lines. The bill (HB 119) says that an injured driver can go only to the emergency room for treatment within 72 hours of the accident. It also limits what type of treatment the patient can access afterward based on that visit to an ER doctor.

Does anyone see the logic in jamming up emergency rooms with whiplash patients in an effort to save money? Hospitals, although staffed with competent and caring professionals, are hardly known for their low costs and efficient patient care. Private clinics serve a vital function for thousands of injured people each year.

The bill also restricts access to effective treatments such as chiropractic and massage therapy. By restricting these types of treatments, patients are more likely to be prescribed pain medication. Is it a good idea to increase the number of people on pain pills in this state?

Dr. Marc J. Rogers, Largo

Obama rejects permit for pipeline | Jan. 19

Turning our back on an ally

Frustration only partially describes my feelings about President Barack Obama's decision to deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which has the promise of alleviating our dependence on foreign oil.

Now because of the ineptitude of our government and continued obstructionism, the Canadians, our neighbor and a tested ally, have announced that they will seek markets in China and other Asian countries. And who can blame them? A friendly neighbor who preferred to deal with us has been rebuked because of political motivation.

If this administration wonders about its shameful approval ratings, this action is a prime example of why they are so low.

Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole

Mitt Romney

Mitt, meet Rick

Mitt Romney took out a quarter-page ad in your Thursday edition. It was an open letter to President Barack Obama, and it begins: "Welcome to Florida. I have a simple question for you: Where are the jobs?" He goes on to add that the president's economic policies "have failed."

I seem to recall Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican like Romney, recently taking credit for creating a lot of jobs in Florida and bringing down the unemployment rate. In his State of the State address Scott proclaimed, "In the past year, Floridians, not government, created almost 135,000 new private sector jobs. We netted more than 120,000 total jobs in the first 11 months of 2011; the third most of any state in the nation."

But apparently all these new jobs in Florida only count when they are touted by a Republican. Perhaps Romney should check with the governor before he sends off his next letter to the president.

Rick Carson, St. Petersburg

Keep public water for public uses | Jan. 16, editorial

Bill isn't a water giveaway

House Bill 639 is not a giveaway, as the Times suggested. Under House Bill 639, Florida's waters, which belong to all of its citizens, are not privatized, continue to be protected by the water management districts, and incentives become available to utilities on which they can rely to increase the use of reclaimed water. It will also ensure that the city of Tampa will have the opportunity to optimize the use of reclaimed water without the possibility of that water being unilaterally redirected. And the way it accomplishes those goals is by clarifying the authority of the water management districts.

In past years, here in the Southwest Florida Water Management District, partnerships were formed between the district and utilities through cooperative funding. Those partnerships were the financial engine to expand the use of reclaimed water. That nonregulatory approach seemed to be working, as you noted in your editorial. However, a few years ago, another district proposed restrictions on the use of reclaimed water. These new regulations would have interfered with the operation of the utilities, subjected them to potential enforcement actions, and squashed the incentive-based system.

At almost the same time, the Southwest Florida Water Management District told the city that since it wasn't distributing all of its reclaimed water, it wanted the city to send its reclaimed water to a use outside of the city, even though Tampa citizens had paid to produce it. We disagreed that they had the authority to do that, and Councilman Charlie Miranda made sure the district heard the city's position.

House Bill 639 clarifies existing law regarding a district's authority over reclaimed water and ensures that a utility can rely on its plans for its reclaimed water for the benefit of its ratepayers. Producing reclaimed water is expensive and subject to multiple regulatory constraints. The bill provides the incentive to increase the use of reclaimed water and thus protect Florida's most precious resource, its natural waters, by decreasing the use of those waters and substituting reclaimed water for such things as irrigation and rehydration of wetlands.

Bob Buckhorn, mayor, Tampa

Captain blamed for cruise disaster | Jan. 16

Help at the helm

So how do we know, the next time we board a plane, train or ship, if the man we are entrusting our lives to is a Sullenberger or a Schettino?

Ramona Billings, St. Petersburg


Sunday’s letters: Slogans won’t ensure safety

LegislatureSafety requires more than slogansOn Wednesday, our Florida House passed House Bill 839 requiring all public schools to post the state motto, "In God We Trust," in a "conspicuous place." The day before, the same Florida House declined to ev...
Published: 02/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Preserve home rule in Florida

LegislaturePreserve home rule in FloridaOn behalf of the members of Business Watch, a trade association for government contractors, I would like to voice our dismay over the Legislature’s wholesale attack on home rule. As local government contractors...
Published: 02/23/18

Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18