Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: Numbers on Amazon show lousy deal

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Amazon may bring 1,000 jobs | June 14

The numbers reveal a lousy deal

I have to ask if anyone has done the math. How is it a good idea to spend $6.6 million of taxpayer money (or any of it, really) so that Tallahassee can then charge us all 6 percent sales tax on everything Amazon sells in the state?

Amazon's net sales were $16 billion in the first quarter of 2013 alone, so if Florida's 6 percent of the U.S. population translates into 6 percent of that sales figure, we're talking $3.8 billion in annual sales in Florida. A 6 percent state sales tax on that yields $230 million in annual tax revenues.

News to Tallahassee: That's not "free money" — it's a tax increase. This deal will cost Floridians $6.6 million up front, then $230 million per year thereafter. For 1,000 jobs? Those jobs better pay $230,000-plus a year each, or this is a lousy deal. Make it 5,000 jobs and at least the economics work.

Robert Freeland, Riverview

Taxpayer giveaway to Amazon June 15, editorial

Jobs are worth the incentive

As someone who has lived through and seen Tampa Bay rise and fall on the tide of real estate speculation, this deal to bring Amazon to Florida seems like a great one for all involved.

Let me apply some arithmetic to illustrate. One thousand jobs times $45,000 per year in average worker salary (not high by national standards, but not bad by Florida's) puts $45 million per year into our regional economy, potentially in economically depressed Seffner. The $6.6 million in taxpayer incentives looks pretty good by comparison.

And while I agree the Legislature needs to modernize the tax system, which is far too dependent on sales tax, economic development has and always will require taxpayer incentives in order for corporations to do business in certain areas. If Florida and Tampa Bay do not offer those incentives, those jobs and that development and growth will go to other cities like they have for years.

I for one am ready for Tampa to improve its reputation on a national level, and if that requires a small part of my tax dollars to do so, then I am all for it. And something tells me that a job seeker with family to support in Seffner is too.

Chris Elmore, Tampa

Scott right to brag, but for wrong reasons June 10, John Romano column

Florida schools doing well

John Romano raises some concerns about Gov. Rick Scott's push to increase the number of jobs in Florida. He claims, for instance, that Scott's efforts to make the state more business-friendly are coming at the expense of Florida's schoolchildren.

I disagree. Granted, Romano notes that "Florida doesn't spend as much money investing in students as a lot of states. That would be 37 states." He's correct for 2010-11. However, spending less per pupil doesn't necessarily mean that Florida is providing its students an inadequate education.

Even though Florida spent an average of "only" $8,887 on each public school student in 2010-11, its schools were ranked sixth-best in the nation by Education Week in the 2013 Quality Counts Report. Moreover, the American Legislative Exchange Council's annual "Report Card on Education" ranked Florida second when comparing state spending to test results.

There's more good news: The rankings of state spending that Romano cited came out before the state's economic recovery — arguably fueled at least in part by Scott's jobs-friendly policies — allowed more than a billion dollars (about $400 per student) to be put back into education in the budget the governor signed this year.

Scott is certainly pro-business, perhaps at the expense of certain other priorities, but Florida's teachers are getting results where they count: in the classroom.

Keith Leslie, Tallahassee

U.S. to send arms to Syrian rebels June 14, commentary

How will we pay?

Congress asks for budget offsets to help pay for domestic natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Is there a similar congressional plan for offset cuts to pay for the guns, bullets, bombs, missiles and "no-fly zones" for Syria?

I assume they have a plan to pay for this military spending. Will those cuts come from domestic spending, entitlement cuts or revenue, and can we count on the Tampa Bay Times to report on that plan?

Ted Radakovic, Tarpon Springs

Father's Day

The value of being there

I was walking with my 5-year-old daughter recently when, out of nowhere, she told me, "Thank you for living at home with us." Before I had a moment to process her statement and respond, she elaborated. "A lot of my friends' dads live in different houses," she said.

Though saddened that a 5-year-old has to consider such things, I was touched that she viewed having mom and dad both at home as something worth being thankful for.

My daughter's comment was a sweet reminder to me of the responsibility that I have to her and to all of my children. Whenever it is remotely possible, we as dads need to put all else aside and be home with our children. We never know which random moments our children will remember for the rest of their lives, and it is important for us to be present for them.

So as we rightfully took the opportunity of this past Father's Day to relax and give ourselves a pat on the back, we should also see it as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the responsibilities we have to our children.

Darren Cassels, Lutz

Scott speeds executions | June 15

Abolish capital punishment

It saddens me to see that our governor has elected to speed up the rate of executions in Florida. Capital punishment is an archaic, vengeful practice that has been abolished in virtually every other civilized country in the world, as well as 18 American states.

Killing criminals is simply inhumane, especially considering the potential for convicting innocent people — 142 death row prisoners have been exonerated since 1973. What's more, the death penalty has not been proven to reduce crime, as it is most prevalent in the South, which also has the nation's highest murder rate. Add to that the fact that it is more expensive than life in prison and it becomes impossible to make a compelling argument in favor of it.

Stephen Lapp, Tampa

Comments

Wednesday’s letters: Breaking down health data

Don’t let news on blood pressure raise yours | Nov. 17, commentaryBreaking down health numbersThank you for publishing the timely commentary by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch on blood pressure. The point he makes about relative risks versus absolute risks ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: Disgraceful tax proposals

Tax billDisgraceful, harmful proposalsThe very fact that the Congress of the people of the United States would propose, not to mention pass, the current tax bill is nothing short of disgraceful. What sort of representatives of the people support cutt...
Published: 11/20/17

Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Wednesday’s letters: Generosity makes all the difference

National Adoption MonthThe difference generosity makesAs a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.Our stat...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17

Monday’s letters: Moore is not fit for public office

Woman: Candidate pursued her as a teen | Nov. 10Moore is not fit for public officeIt is sad that Roy Moore, a self-professed religious man, is running for a Senate seat when he is clearly unfit for any job involving the public for so many reasons...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17