Big business doesn't pay fair share
This year, the additional time to submit income tax returns has given me extra time to reflect on the broken state of our tax system — one that gives large, multinational corporations a different set of rules to play by.
As we scramble to cross our t's and dot our i's, the largest and most successful American businesses can rest easy. They have shifted profits into overseas tax havens where they pay a fraction of what they owe to the American people, the source of their incredible wealth.
Tax haven abuse has taken the center stage following the recent publication of the Panama Papers. The buzz surrounding the failed Pfizer-Allergan "inversion" has elevated this issue to critical mass. We can no longer continue to pick up the slack for corporations that can afford to pay their taxes 10 times over.
This week, my colleagues with the Main Street Alliance flew to Washington for the F.A.C.T. Coalition Lobby Days to call on Congress to take immediate action to rein in bad corporate actors and level the playing field for small businesses.
Each day that passes without action is another day that America's wealthiest corporations can legally pass the buck on to you.
Megan Baker, Brooksville
A costly taste of vanilla | April 12
Missing the big picture
Goldman Sachs and their ilk created a fiscal downturn that negatively affected millions of innocent people worldwide. One wonders why the cost of vanilla is today's headline, while Goldman Sachs' admission of duplicity to its investors and the $5.06 billion settlement is tucked into a corner in the middle of the local section.
Susan Watt, Clearwater
The problem with parties | April 11, letter
Voters need more choices
I agree with the letter writer that it would be great to see no parties, but it seems in the nature of people to team up to contend with each other. So let's have more than two parties.
Our two dominant political parties do fight against each other, to a point — but beyond that they seem to stick together to block the development of a strong third party. I believe the entrenchment of the two parties is the principal cause of low participation by the citizenry in our political process. The two parties have lost touch with the feelings of greater and greater swaths of people. At election time, too many people just stay home.
This campaign season, great numbers of new voters are being attracted by maverick candidates. Maybe the best thing that could happen would be that the big parties split and we end up with four parties. Thereafter, shorter and less costly campaigns may do the job, requiring less fundraising from, and catering to, special interests, thereby allowing more time for government people to give proper attention to the public's interest.
Jose L. Calabria, Land O'Lakes
Cuba hard-liners dug in | April 11
Embargo hurts Cubans
As a Cuba-born naturalized American citizen, I can't for the life of me understand the hard-liners' position on maintaining the failed embargo on Cuba. First of all, if it had anything to do with communism they would demand the same changes from China, Vietnam and other oppressive regimes. They not only haven't done that, I'm sure they have bought products from those countries.
Second, what type of government did they live under in Cuba before Fidel Castro? Fulgencio Batista was an elected president-turned-dictator who took power in a military coup.
So if it's not communism or democratic rule, what's left? Vengeance. Except it's not directed at the Castros — they have lived like kings. No, it's the Cuban people they are punishing. Aren't they satisfied with 53 years of punishment? It's time to end the hypocrisy.
Ana Golan, Tampa
Senate waives its rights | April 12, commentary
Gregory Diskant's solution to the current Republican obstructionism of the Merrick Garland nomination has the ring of notes prepared for a brief to the Supreme Court. It pits the executive branch versus the legislative branch, with eight justices as final arbiters. What could be more constitutional than that? Diskant has done the nation a great service by offering such a sensible solution.
Bill Harris, St. Petersburg
Yanks stay, if Tampa pays | April 12
Two for the price of one
Instead of renovating Steinbrenner Field, Tampa can propose a 35,000-seat major league ballpark that the Yankees can use for spring training and the Rays can use as their regular-season home.
In the spring, the upper deck and outfield seats would not be sold, which would put the seating capacity in the 11,000 range. Imagine, two teams for the price of one ballpark. Does Tampa have the vision to make this happen?
P.J. Jaccoi, Sun City Center