A step toward sales tax fairness May 8, editorial
Help Florida businesses
Thank you for the editorial on the Internet sales tax fairness. I was astonished that this bill never saw the light of day in the recent legislative session. On second thought, I am not astonished, given the Legislature's lack of fairness, common sense, compassion and economics regarding the federal expansion of Medicaid.
What doesn't Marco Rubio get with his "crush small business" statement? The small businesses of Florida and the large retailers of Florida (the taxpayers of Florida) are already being crushed by out-of-state Internet retailers. Is he trying to save them at the expense of Florida bricks-and-mortar businesses?
If the Republicans are so set against additional revenues to benefit Florida, why not collect the estimated $454 million in Internet sales tax that is already legally due the state and reduce the sales tax rate to make it revenue neutral? This is not that hard to do. Let common sense and fairness prevail.
Randal Cochrane, St. Petersburg
Impasse could cost businesses | May 5
Blind to citizens' needs
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, is quoted as saying that he had little concern for "somebody who is an adult and chooses to sit on the couch." Thus he justified refusal of federal funds to expand Medicaid.
I, in turn, have little respect for politicians who deliberately wear blinders so as to deny reality and justify their votes based on ideology rather than the needs and wishes of their constituents.
Yes, of course, there are some freeloaders who would benefit by the expansion of Medicaid. Is this sufficient reason to leave the working poor without health care? The working poor have no access to medical care except by means of hospital emergency rooms. They can't afford ongoing care.
Nursing homes and many other employers are careful to hire only part-time workers who work less than full time. As part-timers, they are not entitled to any benefits.
A typical example would be a woman of 50 who works as a nurse's aide, earning a little over minimum wage after years on the job. She works hard. Now she is developing health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, slipped disk from lifting patients, etc. But she can't afford treatment. She earns barely enough to pay her rent, utilities and groceries. Her youngest child is now over 18, so she does not qualify for Medicaid. There are very few insurance companies that offer individual policies, and their premiums are far beyond her ability to pay.
This woman's name is Legion. She (or he) is your cashier in chain stores and convenience stores. She can be found working as an aide in health care fields. She takes care of the physical needs of your elderly parent in the nursing home. But she has no access to medical care for herself.
"None are so blind as those who refuse to see." This adage applies to House Speaker Will Weatherford, Gaetz and other politicians who could easily acquaint themselves with reality. Their chosen blindness enables them to deny the urgent need for medical care by a large segment of Floridians.
Anne Rost, Clearwater
Special session on Medicaid is pushed May 7
Lives are at stake
Let's hope the Florida Legislature will make the right decision to return for a special session to pass the funding for Medicaid expansion. If not for the money, for the lives of Floridians it will save.
Statistics have indicated that 20,000 to 25,000 people die every year in the United States due to lack of medical care. Since Florida is 15 percent of the population, that would mean roughly 3,000 die in Florida.
If 3,000 people were to die in terrorists attacks every year in Florida, we would not just stand by and think, "Hey, let's wait till next year and see how this is going." In fact, federal money is spent in Florida to avoid attacks through airport and port security, the Department of Homeland Security, the military, etc. We don't turn away that federal aid.
Why should the medical security and lives of our citizens warrant fewer efforts, especially when the solution is available?
Cecilia Yocum, Tampa
Opportunity for reform
Some legislators are saying they voted against Medicaid expansion because the current Medicaid system is broken. Those of us with loved ones — be they patients or physicians — who deal with the current Medicaid system know about the dire need for Medicaid reform.
Where was the will and the groundswell of support to fix the current Medicaid program? The expansion brings the opportunity to reform Medicaid. It will be a challenging journey, but it is the right thing to do. Change is painful. Even ending slavery was challenging, but it couldn't wait. The same is true for Medicaid expansion. There is never going to be a "right time."
Diane Williams, Gulfport
Rundown house held grim secret | May 8
America's moral challenge
Stories of the three women recently found in Cleveland raise serious concerns about the social isolation in urban neighborhoods of America today. The Cleveland police report they have researched their records for over 10 years and find nothing amiss reported from the neighbors. This case raises the same issues as the Kitty Genovese case in Queens, N.Y., in 1964. Genovese was brutally attacked, her screams were heard by many neighbors, yet none called the police. They didn't want to get involved.
Is it fear of "what the neighbors might think," or is it "I don't want to meddle in other peoples business"? Is it just plain fear of reprisal? The case raises social and moral issues America's citizens must address.
Jay Hall, Tampa
A sickening sight | May 8
Pitchers need protection
What happened to J.A. Happ at Tropicana Field should be a wakeup call for all levels of organized baseball from Little League to the majors. Pitchers need head and face protection. Maintaining the status quo is unacceptable. Will it take the death of a 10-year-old Little Leaguer before anything happens?
If an employee in an industrial plant had been hit by a hard object, similar to a baseball, and hospitalized, OSHA inspectors would be at the front door. Okay, baseball: Who is going to take the lead?
Len Wilson, St. Petersburg
Arbitrator reverses officer's dismissal May 8
If a citizen were to kill a pedestrian or biker while driving 20 mph above the posted limit, he would be tried for manslaughter or something worse.
Now we have an example of what happens when a policeman kills a citizen under the same circumstances. He gets his job back.
When a policeman is killed we have solemn parades and pageantry. When a citizen is killed by police we have a line item in the Times.
People often ask why I call this a police state.
Mark E. Reinecke, St. Petersburg
Sanford regains seat in House | May 8
Dangers of party-line voting
It's a sad day when a man like Mark Sanford, who was involved in a scandal as governor, gets re-elected to Congress. It doesn't say much for the Republicans and other voters of that district. That's why corruption breeds corruption. The problems of government will never be resolved with this kind of thinking. It's just sad.
People have to start voting for the man or woman, not the party.
Robert Petrosky, Spring Hill