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  1. Opinion

Trump’s tax breaks broke my checkbook

Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
This photo shows multiple forms printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page that are used for 2018 U.S. federal tax returns. [KEITH SRAKOCIC | AP]

What I deduce in lack of deductions

Tax returns

My wife and I just completed our 2019 tax returns, and it appears that we are going to be paying a small fortune. Can I deduct a portion of our mortgage interest? No, not like prior to 2019. I am a full-time employee of an international medical health-care company, and I work remotely out of my home. Can I still deduct that portion of my home office prorated against the total square footage of my house from my taxes? Not a chance. Is my internet service deductible? No way. My business phone? Don’t ask. Office supplies. Ditto. How about that portion of my medical bills that exceeds what my company health-care benefits provide? Fahgettaboudit! Charitable deductions? No, not anymore. We are not beneficiaries of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts.

Sheldon Rosenfeld, New Port Richey

Things shouldn’t be like this

EpiPens are still costly despite generic alternatives, reforms | Feb. 19

There were three infuriating articles in the first section of Wednesday’s paper, and that’s about par these days: (1) diabetics turning to Craigslist for their insulin because constant price hikes make it unaffordable through usual, safer means; (2) EpiPen prices remain sky-high despite generic alternatives; and (3) no action on prescription drug pricing in the Senate, despite bipartisan and presidential support due to massive lobbying and campaign spending by the pharmaceutical industry. This is draining the swamp?

Edward Chapman, Tampa

The storm after the acquittal

Trump grants clemency to 11 | Feb. 19

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, left, is joined by his wife, Patti, daughters Annie and Amy at a news conference outside his home in Chicago. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump commuted Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for political corruption. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) [CHARLES REX ARBOGAST | AP]

President Donald Trump asserts that he is the chief law enforcement officer of the country. That claim should make Attorney General William Barr’s decision whether or not to resign, as literally thousands of his outraged peers in the legal profession are urging him, an easier one to make, although his resignation hardly seems likely. Now, Trump has just pardoned or granted clemency to nearly a dozen white-collar convicts, some of them quite notorious, others with lots of cash to support his re-election campaign. As time goes by since his impeachment trial acquittal, the United States begins to look more and more like a banana republic rather than “a shining city upon a hill.” What will it look like if Donald Trump is re-elected?

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

Get both chambers to agree

Sensible changes to foster care funding | Editorial, Feb. 19

Megan Davila, 25, a Child Protection Investigator in training, along with Jacque Salary, 46, a Child Protection Investigator and mentor for almost seven years, pictured with their case files in the family visitation room at the Child Protection Investigation Division of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in Largo. [DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times]

This Times’ editorial highlights a Department of Children and Families accountability and funding formula bill currently making its way through the Senate’s committee structure. The bill’s funding formula is logically based on the number of at-risk children being served in each of Florida’s judicial circuits. It appears to clearly be the right thing to do.

However, there is currently no true companion bill in the House. House Speaker Jose Oliva, who controls the House’s legislative agenda, should look past his South Florida loyalties and demand that a companion bill be considered in the House. With the speaker’s support, a champion of such a bill in the House will quickly appear. Delaying this bill another year would certainly have a negative impact on the at-risk children served in the severely underfunded districts.

Richard Warrener, Odessa