Fla. GOP to copy law in Arizona - June 26, story
I welcome the proposal to rein in and discourage illegal immigration. Like Arizona, we can no longer wait for the federal government to secure the border and enforce our immigration laws. The Arizona law mirrors existing federal laws, and is in fact more lenient. If we could just enforce the existing laws we would not need a new one.
There is a need to strengthen penalties and enforcement of existing laws barring people and companies from hiring illegal immigrants. The E-Verify program is already in existence and should be made mandatory for all employers. Those who do not comply should face prison time. To date, this foolproof system has largely been ignored.
Exploitation of illegal workers is deplorable and should be curtailed. If it is deemed necessary to have a guest worker program to fill our labor force needs, then they must get at least the minimum wage and have some health benefits during their stay. But when the job is over, they must go home. That entails having a workable ID program which will ensure the whereabouts of the immigrants and the terms of their stay. Most certainly something more secure than the existing failed visa program.
I believe that a thoughtful, earnest plan could be a win-win!
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
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This sounds well and good provided we first answer the question of whether this is going to waste the time of the Florida legislators and the taxpayers' money. There are many groups that have laid claim to filing lawsuits against the Arizona law with no court judgments at the present time.
There are two major questions publicly outstanding: Are the legislators talking puppets for corporations, and is the Arizona law constitutional?
There is a way for Florida legislators to answer the first of the questions and to bypass the second question. This would be the passage of legislation requiring all corporations and unions registered in the state of Florida to use the federal E-Verify program for all employees, present and future. The E-Verify program has been used and its constitutionality has not been challenged. Under this legislation, all corporations and unions would have 60 days to comply before enforcement is enacted and violations would cause these corporations and unions to lose their rights to operate in the state of Florida until compliance is adhered to.
There are those who will say that many corporations and unions will leave the state. To them I say, "So what?" If they leave it is likely because most of their employees are illegal immigrants. The state would not be losing jobs filled by legal Americans.
Adolph F. Panella Jr., Valrico
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Nation's wealthiest should pay fair share
June 28, editorial
The wealthy alreadypay their fair share
To suggest that Congress reinstate an estate tax at some random level that specifically targets the wealthy so that they can pay their so-called "fair" share is a typical example of liberal class warfare. The wealthy already shoulder a disproportionate share of the tax burden. In fact, the top 1 percent of income earners pay more to Uncle Sam than the bottom 95 percent combined.
Any wealth that remains at the time of an individual's death has already been subject to taxes paid throughout one's lifetime. To suggest the government is entitled to take yet another nearly half is not only unfair, it's tantamount to legalized theft. The vast majority of wealth and riches accumulated in this country are the result of hard work and ingenuity, and the risks these individuals take create jobs and opportunities for the rest of Americans.
From the birth of this country to the present day, folks from around the world flock here to achieve a better life and maximize their potential. In America we reward success, we don't penalize it.
Rather than contemplate legislation that demonizes wealth creators and penalizes success, the left should instead focus its attention on the real problem, runaway government spending. The wealthy in this country generate so much of the tax revenue our government uses to fund its initiatives. It's not their fault that those in charge of the federal purse have failed to manage a reasonable budget.
Walter Stackow, St. Petersburg
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Reaganism is the problem - June 21, letter
Tax cuts as stimulus
The Reagan tax cuts enabled massive reinvestment of capital into the manufacture of consumer goods and services, providing many, many new jobs. That, in my opinion, was "stimulus."
The primary result of lower taxes and greater employment, of course, was the greatest-ever infusion of "new revenue" into the U.S. Treasury. Never before had "tax" legislation created such a boon to the U.S. government.
A secondary by-product of such money in the treasury was the immediate creation, by congressional legislation, of $1.80 of new government spending for every $1 of that new revenue. Read that again: Congress created $1.80 in new spending for every $1 of new money. Were the new "programs" worth it?
To this day, my basic respect for the Reagan administration is dampened by the knowledge that President Reagan did not utilize a stronger veto policy to rein in such massive congressional overspending.
R.J. Radford, Clearwater
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The tea party
Now they speak up
It's funny to hear the tea party is so upset with President Barack Obama because he wants to increase the size of government and is heading toward socialism.
Where were these same people when George W. Bush and the GOP Congress doubled the national debt, had many corporate bailouts, furthered centralization of education, expanded Medicare and increased regulation? Where were they when two undeclared wars were started and we borrowed money from China to pay for them? When we faced civil liberties violations and unchecked executive power, torture and phones tapped with no court orders?
The tea party is not a grass roots movement, rather it is a movement started by Dick Armey and perpetuated by Fox News. As to "The tea party roared and the nation took notice; now what's the next step ...?" Armey is now warning future tea party candidates that "tea party activists should refrain from self-identifying as tea party candidates."
Scott McKown, Palm Harbor
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What does tea party want?
They don't want government to pay for health care in our country. I guess I'm one who believes in universal health care for all. Other countries have it but not us.
They also don't want government connected to our schools, but who's going to pay the salary of teachers?
They say they're alarmed about our national debt. I am, too, but where is our money going? What about the billions we spend in the military? Nothing is said about that, or our spending in other countries, like $3 billion in Israel. But I guess the tea party is more concerned about spending government money on the needy in our country (like health care). What do the tea party members want? Make a list for us to see.
Cynthia Boadway, St. Petersburg
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211 jobs cut; services hit - June 25, story
It's just not right
In Pinellas, 211 county workers are losing their jobs, gushing oil is destroying the livelihood of gulf coast citizens, and much of America is unemployed. With all this going on our secretary of labor, Hilda Solis, is appealing to illegal aliens to call and report any problems with their pay. What is wrong with this picture?
Gary Keats, Clearwater