Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Take away debt ceiling weapon

Government shutdown

Take away debt ceiling weapon

We can fix the current mess by flooding House politicians with calls demanding an end to this nonsense if they ever want to be re-elected.

We can prevent this from happening in the future with two actions that take away their weapon — a flawed budget process designed to facilitate political manipulation.

Congress hasn't passed a budget for years, and in addition to shutdowns, this generally makes government operations even more inefficient. So, the first action is to ensure future budgets are passed on time by changing the law to automatically extend any budget (indexed for inflation) for another year when a new budget isn't enacted by October.

The second step is to eliminate the debt ceiling. For most of American history, we have had no debt ceiling, and only one other constitutional country has one. Clearly, it is of no use in controlling spending. For many years prior to 1995, the debt limit was increased in conjunction with spending bills that required such an increase. Creating a separate debt ceiling process in 1995 also created an effective weapon for political obstructionists. Since debt is an integral part of budget development, eliminating a separate ceiling is more efficient and also prevents the recurring crisis.

Jerry Stephens, Riverview

Affordable Care Act

Call it by its right name

I am tired of reading and hearing the word "Obamacare." It is the Affordable Care Act. It is the law. It has been voted on, signed by the president of the United States and upheld by the Supreme Court.

The term "Obamacare" was created as a putdown of the president and the law by Republicans and tea party extremists who are holding the nation hostage. I respectfully request that the journalists at the Tampa Bay Times stop using the term.

Maybe you could start a trend.

Donna McGill, St. Pete Beach

Amazon center on way | Oct. 11

Giveaways and blackmail

A national tax cheat has wrested significant concessions from the state in order to bring some jobs here. Our "jobs" governor thinks nothing of lavishing taxpayer money on corporations who could easily have been required to collect and remit sales taxes while for years they hurt local retailers. This government is "conservative"?

We have morphed from a state that looks after people with tax levies and spending to looking after multibillion corporations, hoping they will eventually repay the money given to them as blackmail. Anybody remember luring MCI to open a call center here? What did that boondoggle cost the taxpayers? What was the net loss or benefit?

Bob Tankel, Dunedin

On the road to congestion

There seems to be jubilation over Amazon selecting Ruskin as its new distribution center. However, this warehouse will employ at least 1,000 people, and since it's an online sales operation you can pretty much assume it will be a 24/7 operation.

That means you have several hundred people commuting at different times of the day and night, and that's not including the pickup and delivery trucks, semitrailer trucks, etc. You think the traffic gets congested when the snowbirds return? Just wait for this addition to traffic on State Road 674. Has everyone forgotten that in the middle of all this is Sun City Center, a senior retirement community?

In addition let's not forget those Amazon tax incentives will mean that the widening of SR 674, additional street lighting, traffic signals, etc., will need to be paid by someone, and guess whose tax bill that will be passed on to.

Bob Kelly, Sun City Center

Striking it rich

I am certainly delighted that Amazon has decided to erect a new warehouse in the Ruskin area of Tampa Bay. The prospect of new jobs, a boost to the local economy, and increased revenues for the state of Florida appear to be good things for the area in general.

However, their appears to be a huge golden parachute for somebody with the transaction reported by the Tampa Bay Times. An 80-acre parcel of basic agricultural land was reported purchased for $14.6 million. That is $182,500 per acre for this warehouse site. Similar property across the state goes for more like $3,000 an acre.

Gerald R. Bell, Wimauma

For big businesses, the tea party is over Oct. 11, Daniel Ruth column

Federal interference

People are not upset that the government isn't open to approve breweries. They are upset that government is involved at all. One brewery can't open because they are waiting for the government to approve their label. Here in Florida people are being told they need government permission to go kayaking in Florida Bay.

The shutdown illustrates what a bad idea it is to put the federal government in charge of such things in the first place. Privately run parks are doing just fine, thank you, and I'm pretty sure life could go on without government-approved beer bottle labels.

The Department of Education has tripled spending for a zero percent increase in student performance. Get the federal government out of these things — then politicians wouldn't be able to hold the rest of us hostage with a "shutdown."

Chris Johnson, Clearwater

Scott's budget chief says $500M tax cut could work | Oct. 2

Hallmarks of decline

Is the United States becoming a Third World country? Are we headed in that direction?

Many of the hallmarks of a poor country are readily evident, such as homeless people in the streets, deteriorating infrastructure like bridges and roads, hungry children, questionable education, people unable to afford health care, inadequate safety nets, an erratic government — the list goes on.

And our politicians' answer to these severe challenges is an ironic "more tax cuts."

Arnold Frigeri, Sun City Center


Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18