Time for tax reform
I have heard a lot ways to reform the federal income tax codes. Two of the fairest: 1. A straight tax rate for certain ranges of income. For instance, those earning less than $75,000 pay no federal income tax; those making more than $75,000 but less than $100,000 pay a certain percentage. Then you add more levels of taxable incomes until you reach a maximum. There would be no tax loopholes. Your rate is your rate. Just think: A one-page federal income tax form each April 15th. The downside: There are still a lot of people who deal in “black market businesses” and pay no taxes. This would assure that people like billionaire Warren Buffett pay a higher tax bracket than his secretary.
2. While not a “perfect” system, we could borrow what much of Europe uses — VAT (value-added taxes). Essentially you pay taxes on almost everything you buy. Manufacturers and service companies would pay federal taxes on any purchases made for their businesses, including phone, Internet and so on. People would pay taxes on everything they buy with a few exceptions, like food and medical (this would also apply to the first system). The advantage here is that even those who deal with the “black market” would be paying more in federal taxes than they do now.
Tom Craig, Riverview
Loving the jet roar
During the last week, the Marines have been conducting training exercises at MacDill Air Force Base for elite fighter jets. Of course, we always have our share of refueling tankers flying as well. Some residents are disturbed and annoyed by the noise. Rather than complain, we should be grateful for the brave pilots, crews and staff at MacDill. They will be the first to fight for and defend our freedom. Living directly under the approach of runway 220, I cannot think of a more beautiful, peaceful sound.
Bobby Santos, Tampa
Don’t preempt climate progress
While local cities and communities throughout the Tampa Bay area, including my own city of Dunedin, have been working hard to make an impact on our pending climate catastrophe, the officials we have elected to represent us in our state government are working just as hard to erase our local efforts. With multiple preemption bills like SB 856/HB 839 and SB 1128/HB 919 being jammed through committees in Tallahassee during this legislative session, it’s looking like our state representatives are ready and willing to rip away our local ability to make decisions.
You may already be one of the 1.1 million Floridians in a city that has chosen to transition to 100% clean energy, including Dunedin, St. Petersburg, Largo and Safety Harbor. These cities are prioritizing clean energy because our state representatives are not taking the initiative. In fact, these preemption bills are attacking our local progress toward the clean and healthy future we are striving for across the Sunshine State. This is a power grab, plain and simple.
I strongly urge my representatives to vote no on the preemption bills, and I urge you to call your Florida representatives today to ask them to do the same. Let locals lead!
Megan Colby, Dunedin
Flawed voucher logic
I have never understood the concept behind funding Florida’s school vouchers. The theory, as I understand it, is that “we the people” will give money to those who want to send their kids to private schools. The logic that the purveyors of this idea use is that since the child will not be at a public school, the school will not be using that money to teach that child. This is a strange concept considering that my wife and I are childless, yet we do not get coupons, rebates or another form of money back on our taxes, even though our kids (which don’t exist) cost nothing to teach.
A public school system is required in a society that wishes to succeed; therefore, like it or not, we all must pay (kids or no kids). If someone wishes to place their kids in private school, they should foot the bill like parents did when I was in school. But if we are going to use the false logic that a kid in private school does not cost the public school system money, then I want back the share of my taxes used to educate my non-existent kids.
Glen Getchell, Seminole
Give Trump a break
Why is it some writers whose opinion pieces you publish just can’t seem to get Donald Trump out of their heads? Would they not be more productive and better serve your readers if they would express their opinions on what our government is doing today and planning for tomorrow rather than dwell on the past?
A.E. Roberts, St. Petersburg