USF Poly could be a legacy college | Sept. 18
Undue influence on education
Is our state government so autocratic that one man can hold hostage a group of citizens charged with doing what is best for the entire state university system? How else can one explain the actions of our governor, a self-proclaimed terminator of waste and cronyism? Gov. Rick Scott approved only one school's construction project, allocating $35 million for the same man's project, while cutting $165 million from other school-related construction projects.
The statements attributed to Sen. J.D. Alexander as justification for this venture are sophomoric at best. Floridians are already supporting engineering and math curriculums at the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida, to cite a few. What documentation is there that indicates curriculums at existing institutions are failing to meet regional and state needs for developing engineers and mathematicians? Can Alexander explain how making an institution independent will make that institution any better? And how can this institution function without adding the expense of administrative support, which is currently provided by USF?
If Alexander and his business associates want a truly independent institution in their back yard, they should build a private one funded by themselves and not the entire state of Florida. That would be a legacy.
Joseph Valenti, Tampa
Unemployed may get right to sue
Job-killing lawsuits coming
Politifact rated true the statement that if an unemployed person does not get hired by a company and thinks they were not hired because they are unemployed, they will have the legal right to sue under President Barack Obama's new jobs bill. I can see how this will play out if it passes.
First, you will see the commercials, "Feel like you have been discriminated against by a company because you are unemployed? Call the legal firm of so and so." Some unemployed people will see this as their ticket for a big payoff and call the lawyers. Lawyers will bring suits against companies. These companies will have to defend against these suits even if they have no merit. This means companies will have to commit resources to fighting lawsuits instead of hiring people. Many small companies won't hire at all. The lawyers will make out like bandits and send contributions to Obama.
Jim Tremain, Gulfport
Saving Social Security
'Doughnut hole' solution
At age 74, I live off Social Security after paying into the "entitlement" for more than 40 years. Yes, I believe I'm "entitled" to receive benefits that I paid for. My solution to extending the life of Social Security does not require lowering the rate of inflation, raising the retirement age, imposing payroll taxes on employer-sponsored fringe benefits, or even increasing the first annual earnings up from $106,800.
My plan would embrace the process approved by a Republican president and Congress when they passed the Medicare drug plan written by the pharmaceutical lobby. We should lower the first earnings rate to $100,000 and create a "doughnut hole" to $250,000. The tax rate on all earnings over that amount would be equal to whatever is needed to extend the program for 75 to 100 years.
When the drug plan "doughnut hole" was backed by AARP, I dropped my membership. Instead of continuing the fight, AARP decided the doughnut hole was the best it could do at the time. I had joined AARP to join the fight to protect seniors.
H.B. Gonzalez, Tampa
Republicans allege class warfare
Just who is waging this war?
Any time President Barack Obama suggests that corporations forgo unneeded subsidies or that the wealthy pay a little more in taxes, Republican leaders cry he is engaging in "class warfare." But just who are the warriors and who are the victims? Are the warriors really not those wealthy individuals and corporations who are able to employ lobbyists to influence Congress to create myriad shelters, loopholes and subsidies for special interests? Are they not also those well-off individuals who can employ CPAs and tax attorneys to help them find and take advantage of those special provisions? And would the majority of those privileged persons and corporate bigwigs not be Republicans? Class warfare indeed!
Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center
Spending is the problem
If you are an adult American citizen paying no federal income tax, your fair share is more, or at least something.
If you are one of us who does pay federal income tax, our fair share is less, preferably much less.
Just stop obscene spending, which is any spending not mandated by the Constitution of the United States.
Norm Lucas, Tampa
State employee contributions
Help for the working poor
After being laid off twice from better-paying jobs, I am employed as a classroom assistant in Pinellas County schools. I love helping students practice skills and am grateful to have a job. I believe each of us should contribute to our own individual future. However, when you earn less than $10 per hour, the added deduction for retirement and the upcoming increase in insurance contributions places hardships on the working poor.
Perhaps the Legislature could consider a baseline income for these mandatory retirement contributions. The $40 to $45 a month could provide food that we need now as opposed to in the future, when we will not be retired but will continue to be part of the underemployed, working poor.
Donna McGill, St. Pete Beach
No charges in gas death | Sept. 17
Be accountable for actions
The recent tragic death of Rebecca Hawk is inexcusable, and the person who left the car running should be charged with negligent homicide. He may not have done it intentionally, but he still is responsible for the actions that resulted in the death or injury of someone else.
How many people accidentally leave their car running for 11 hours? So law enforcement is trying to say if I leave my skateboard on a flight of stairs and someone falls to their death that is okay? Or perhaps I park my car in the middle of the highway and walk to a gas station for a cup of coffee. Are you good with that?
What the heck is the matter with you people? You should be accountable for those actions that cause harm to another; you can't just blindly and blamelessly wander through life doing as you please. Get a grip, and be responsible.
Robert Jonatzke, Holiday