Tom Lee wants to phase out greyhound racing | Nov. 8
Put a stop to this cruel industry
Kudos to Sen. Tom Lee for shepherding a constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing in Florida. Greyhounds forced to race live in misery and frequently die in misery. Illness and injuries — including broken legs, heatstroke and heart attacks — claim the lives of many dogs.
Countless greyhounds are also killed each year when breeders decide that the dogs won't be fast enough to win races. Dogs have been shot, bludgeoned, or simply dumped to fend for themselves. Those who make the first cut live on borrowed time: Their lives are secure only as long as they make money for their owners. Some discarded dogs suffer on blood factory farms; they are jammed in cramped cages and their blood is repeatedly taken and sold to veterinarians for transfusions to other dogs. They go crazy from stress and lack of space.
The greyhound racing industry is dying. In recent years, dozens of tracks have closed to live racing in the United States and attendance has plummeted.
Florida legislators need to do the right thing and end this cruel industry.
Jennifer O'Connor, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.
Menendez coverage lacking
How can the Tampa Bay Times call itself a newspaper when there is a very important trial going on in New Jersey and the Times does not print one word about it? Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, is on trial and faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
I realize that the Times is busy trashing President Donald Trump and members of his family and administration on a daily basis, but you would think that the trial of a powerful Democratic senator on charges of corruption would earn space in a real newspaper. I can only imagine the stories we would read if Menendez were a Republican.
James Wallace, Gulfport
Middle class won't win
For eight years all we've heard from Republicans is "the deficit" and how our legacy to our children will be this huge mountain of debt. Now that they occupy the White House and have a majority in Congress, they propose tax cuts projected to create a $1.5 trillion deficit.
They tell us this will result in an economic expansion, creating additional revenue so that the tax cut will more than pay for itself. President Donald Trump has predicted that the country will actually make a profit as a windfall from new revenues will come surging into the Treasury. Unfortunately, our country's economic academics have completely debunked that premise.
Other supporters talk about how the average middle class family will have an additional $1,000 to spend, but remain totally silent about how 80 percent of the tax reduction will directly benefit those individuals earning over $1 million per year. No one likes paying taxes and everyone would like and extra $80 per month in their pocket, but it should be clear when reading the fine print that other limitations or exclusions to tax deductions — including those for medical care, education credits, dependent care and state and local taxes — will significantly dilute or completely eliminate the tax reduction for many in the middle class.
Regarding the corporate tax reform measures, the proposed excise tax on revenue being diverted to overseas subsidiaries for the sole purpose of tax avoidance makes a lot of sense, as does the low one-time tax to repatriate funds sitting overseas. These changes are beneficial and supportable, as is some modest reduction in the corporate rate. But a reduction to 20 percent is totally over the top. Shareholders will be the prime beneficiaries.
Even when counting indirect holdings in retirement accounts and mutual funds, the richest 10 percent of U.S. residents account for about 80 percent of American-owned stocks, and the richest 1 percent own about 40 percent.
Gary Cohen, Tampa
Busting the budget
I am concerned that the tax bill would increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. We already have put too high a financial burden on the next generation with the current deficit.
And I don't understand why the wealthy need such a large tax decrease. Neither the Reagan tax decreases nor the George W. Bush tax decreases helped spur the economy or increase jobs.
If we are going to increase the deficit by that much, I think the money should be invested in our country's deteriorating infrastructure, which will definitely increase jobs; to make our country safer and more secure; to improve our quality of life; and to make our country more attractive to business.
We are a middle-class family whose taxes would increase under both the House and Senate tax bills. I understand that trade-offs are necessary to reform taxes. However, it is not acceptable to me that I'm going to pay more money so the wealthy well receive a huge tax break. I can't think of any reason that the estate tax needs to be repealed. It is only paid by people who inherit over $5 million!
Georgia Earp, St. Petersburg
It's not that complicated
Why is reducing the taxes on the middle class so complicated? Instead of rushing to deliver a complicated tax plan by year's end, why not just reduce the bottom two tax rates from 10 and 15 percent to 8 and 13 percent? If that grows the deficit too much, the percentage could be adjusted.
This would give the Republicans the tax reduction win that they want and the Democrats the focus on the middle class that they want. Families of four making $50,000, $75,000, $100,000 and those above $114,000 would see tax reductions of about $400, $900, $1,400 and $1,500 respectively.
Bob Peretti, Tarpon Springs