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Technology keeps public officials connected

Personal time piles up for Sink, McCollum | Oct. 25, story

Technology keeps us connected

When I picked up my paper Sunday morning, the glaring headline hit me.

With our technology in today's world, we in business and those in politics, like them or not, cannot escape responsibilities.

Your reporters on this story are connected 24/7 and I am sure do not record all their time. I, as an association manager and president of my corporation, do not either. Whether in Florida, New Hampshire or Minnesota or anywhere else in the country, I and they are working whether we want to or not.

Whether you like Sink or McCollum, they are probably working wherever they are.

The best times I have had recently were in Crystal River when my cell phone was out of service, camping.

Michael J. Small, Bayonet Point

Saving money?

Many thanks to Gov. Charlie Crist for taking all the time off. I'm assuming he's setting an example so that we can furlough state workers, giving them additional time off in lieu of pay so that we might come closer to balancing revenues with expenditures.

Crist's the guy at the top, so he takes 10 weeks a year as a voluntary furlough. That's leadership.

Now perhaps we can expect state workers to step up to the plate and accept a four-day work week and apply the savings toward balancing our budget without raiding the state's scant reserves.

Governor, just clarify one thing for me: You did return the salary for those 10 weeks to the state's coffers, didn't you?

Roger Roach, Pinellas Park

Make out-of-state sellers pay fair share to Florida | Oct. 26, commentary

Internet sales tax is not a good idea

State Rep. Kurt Kelly is either very naive, or he thinks the rest of us are. Florida businesses collect sales tax from their Florida customers. The customer pays the tax. Kelly would force sellers in other states to collect Florida sales tax from Floridians.

This of course would lead other states to retaliate and collect their sales tax from Floridians. So if you order something from Pennsylvania you would be charged Pennsylvania sales tax.

I have a small eBay store. I usually collect $1 to $2 in Florida sales tax every quarter. There are only five states that do not collect sales tax. Would I have to file 45 state sales tax returns every quarter and send each state $1 to $2?

No, Rep. Kelly, this is a very bad idea. I suggest you develop some fortitude and consider increasing taxes if the you need more money to run the state.

Ray Murtaugh, Dunedin

Make out-of-state sellers pay fair share to Florida | Oct. 26, commentary

A business burden

State Rep. Kurt Kelly makes an ill-thought-out argument for the collection of sales tax from out-of-state and online retailers that sell goods to Florida consumers. What about sales going the other way?

Florida retailers are not collecting tax on consumer purchases they ship out of state unless they have a physical presence in that other state.

Florida law requires consumers to pay Florida sales tax on all purchases shipped into Florida. There is a law on the books and for it to work there must be enforcement, which is lacking.

It is a tremendous burden for a small business to track, report and pay sales tax to multiple states. Why add to the burden of small businesses?

Kelly should use his position to create an enforcement mechanism to collect the millions of dollars in unpaid sales taxes for consumer purchases delivered in Florida.

Robert Weisman, Tampa

Congress drags feet on ethics | Oct. 26, editorial

A crackdown is needed

Perhaps because I consider myself "old school" and expect more from my government officials, I am sickened by the reported foot-dragging by Congress and the House Ethics Committee.

For Rep. Charles Rangel to claim a poor memory as a defense for failing to report millions in income is ludicrous and insulting. A supposedly esteemed lawmaker being investigated for such a failure is no role model for his constituents, or anyone else. His alleged misdemeanors, I understand, are under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, but the committee seems reluctant in its pursuit.

It is my hope that the IRS treats this case as sternly as they would one against an ordinary citizen. A slap on the wrist by the Ethics Committee is certainly insufficient. Whatever happened to honesty and integrity?

Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole

Congress drags feet on ethics | Oct. 26

Prosecution required

This editorial about Congress dragging its feet on ethics after the Democrats' regained control in 2006 is disheartening. The House Ethics Committee should be disbanded and replaced with an independent agency that has authorization to hold them accountable and to arrest and prosecute.

Congress should never be allowed to police itself. The ethics situation in Congress can only be described as legalized corruption.

Gerald Harper Sr., Holiday

What did he do for them? | Oct. 23, story

Why the secrecy?

Why is everything about the pro-oil drilling coalition a secret? We don't know who they are and what their real aims and methods are. We only know they are a powerful group of oil companies and politicians — one of whom we just found out about.

George LeMieux, our recently appointed Senate seat-warmer, worked for the coalition. No one knows or will say what he did for them. The citizens of this state are not important enough to our state and federal politicians to be informed of who they are really working for.

There is a reason for the secrecy. What is it? It is so reminiscent of Jeb Bush's "devious plans" to sink the class size amendment and mass transit.

The secret coalition has lots of money to convince us to drill. They are not doing it for us; they are not our benefactors. They are spending their money to convince us to drill so they can profit. We should know who they are. We should know all of their spill records, their safety records, etc.

Debbie Terhune, Treasure Island

Bay area home sales lag | Oct. 24, story

Slanting to the negative

When I opened my paper Saturday morning my heart sank when I read this headline. I then read the next line and could not believe my eyes. The bay area sales are up 11 percent, but in spite of this the headline had a negative spin.

How can this area expect to have an improved attitude about buying homes when even good news is slanted to the negative. What would have been wrong with a headline that said "Bay area home sales jump 11 percent" followed by the next line, "and Florida sales statewide rise a whopping 34 percent"?

I am not asking you to be an advocate for the real estate community, but good news is good news even if other areas have better news. I believe the tide is turning and if the good news was portrayed as good news maybe the fence sitters out there will realize this is the best time to buy in years.

Frederick B. Longacre, Largo

Technology keeps public officials connected 10/27/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 7:17pm]
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