Citrus reeling as tax hit sinks in | Dec. 1
Corporation bullies community
Citrus County is just another victim of a big private corporation's attempted bullying. Because Duke Energy has more money than the county, it feels it can do whatever it wants.
In Pinellas County, we already pay a nonrefundable tax directly to "lack of Progress Energy" for some future power plant that may not ever be built. Now the company that is taking over for Progress feels it should not have to pay its taxes. If I could quit doing business with these incompetents I would, but alas, they have a monopoly and I cannot get electricity anywhere else.
The Citrus County tax office should open an escrow account and ask all its citizens to send their electric bill payments to the county, and then hold that money until Duke Energy remembers why it exists.
These corporate giants have squeezed all the profit they can out of their own labor force and out of ratepayers. Now they don't even feel the need to pay their taxes. It prompts the question: Should energy companies be privately held when modern life requires access to electricity to secure a certificate of occupation in most municipalities?
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
Political reality and Rice | Nov. 30, editorial
Obama should stand firm
I take exception to your editorial suggesting that President Barack Obama should seek an alternative to Susan Rice as secretary of state. The trumped-up charges against Rice by her Republican opponents deserve to be called what they really are: an attempt to force the president to appoint Sen. John Kerry, which would open the Massachusetts seat to a special election wherein defeated Sen. Scott Brown would have another chance to return to the Senate.
When Condoleezza Rice was proposed as secretary of state by former President George W. Bush — in spite of all her mistakes concerning the presence of weapons in Iraq — she was confirmed by the Senate in spite of these mistakes because the senators rightfully believed that Bush was entitled to his choice of secretary of state.
If the president doesn't have the guts to confront the Senate on this nomination, he will disappoint the millions of us who supported his re-election.
Robert Schultz, St. Petersburg
Shared sacrifice is the way ahead | Dec. 1
Glossing over spending cuts
This editorial did a credible job of refuting House Speaker John Boehner's argument that raising income tax rates on the highest earners would stunt economic growth, and of pointing out that any such tax increases must be accompanied by tax reform and reductions in government spending if the country is serious about reducing its large budget deficit.
However, the editorial was far from balanced. First, it chose to dispute a few abbreviated sentences by Boehner, and to ignore his fuller public remarks in which he has accepted the concept of higher tax revenues from high-income earners as a part of a tax reform package that curtails tax deductions. Second, it fails to mention that neither President Barack Obama nor congressional Democrats have so far offered any serious proposals for spending reductions, especially of entitlements, other than vague promises to deal with these issues in the future.
This editorial painted Republicans as unreasonable and glossed over the unwillingness of Democrats to tackle government spending.
Donald Wheeler, St. Petersburg
Find savings in defense
There is a major item missing from the current discussion: the Pentagon budget. Many people who have never spent a day in the military or working with it believe it is anti-American to ever cut military spending. Wrong. The United States spends more than the next six countries combined.
A 30 percent cut in defense spending would almost solve the deficit problem without affecting our global capabilities. Cut troops in Europe, Korea and Afghanistan. Fix the pension and health care costs. Eliminate aircraft and ship programs and 50 percent of the generals who are not needed.
I spent seven years as an Air Force pilot and 10 years as a civilian, selling systems to the Pentagon. Many people with that inside view agree.
Jack Shea, Clearwater
Curran: Sell the public on Lens | Dec. 1
You can't sell what nobody wants, and nobody — with the exception of the Tampa Bay Times and a few elected elitists — wants this lump of water pollution.
Why? It costs money that we don't have; it serves no purpose; no plans exist to show the final, completed project; and the citizenry has been denied a voice at the ballot box.
For comedic effect, the two principals, Mayor Bill Foster and council member Leslie Curran, are behaving like fourth-graders having a slap fight on the playground.
It's time to recognize that the whole project is broken. Put the matter on the ballot and live with the results.
Gary West, St. Petersburg
Bait to lure Bass Pro still too darned big Dec. 4, editorial
Good public investment
How can you assert that the proposed Bass Pro Shops location is "unprepared for development" and an example of "sprawl"? The location is at the intersection of I-75, the Selmon Expressway, Highway 60 and Falkenburg Road. More traffic flows through these major arteries daily than the next three busiest locations in the county combined.
Should we not want these jobs because they're not "high-tech or high income"? Hundreds of thousands of our citizens don't have high-tech jobs; are they unworthy of living here?
The project will immediately provide hundreds of jobs for engineers, architects, pipe layers, heavy equipment operators, concrete masons, framers, electricians, plumbers, etc., for the next 18 to 24 months. They will spend tens of millions on heavy equipment, pipe, concrete, asphalt, drywall, etc. Annual property taxes and sales taxes will be in the millions, on top of the permit fees, impact fees, bed taxes, etc., from the ancillary uses the project will certainly attract.
The county and the citizens will recover the $8.25 million investment before Bass Pro shops makes the first sale.
David Campo, Riverview