Firm StandEditor: With most legislators cowering before...


January 31, 1991

Firm Stand

Editor: With most legislators cowering before voters who oppose the recommendations of the Linowes Commission, it is refreshing to see state Sen. John A. Pica Jr., D-Baltimore, taking a firm stand in support of some of the measures advocated by the commission.

Senator Pica comes out for expanding the coverage of the sales tax to include some services and to do away with the exemption of some special interests. He also favors a more progressive tax structure under which more than 2 million Marylanders would get a tax cut while those whose incomes exceed $40,000 would pay slightly more to the state. Money from the change in the sales tax would be allocated to education.

The Sun has done an excellent job of explaining why the piggyback tax is so unfair to Baltimore City. Under the piggyback formula the city receives less money from the state than a wealthy jurisdiction like Montgomery County because its per- capita income is so much lower. The other money which the state gives to the city cannot begin to compensate for the piggyback inequity.

Hats off to Senator Pica for courageously championing a plan under which most taxpayers will pay less income tax while those able to pay more will pay a little more and the school children of the state will benefit. Hopefully he will be joined by other legislators who have the intestinal fortitude to tell their constituents about what taxes are needed and why.

Robert T. Brown.


Good Advice

Editor: William Pfaff's Jan. 19 column asks Western governments to "defend their own principles" and make aid to the Soviet Union conditional "upon the continuation of a peaceful course of reform in the Soviet Union, in which all conflicts are settled through negotiation and accommodation."

We and the rest of the world would be better off today if the United States had adopted that wise policy in Guatemala, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Lebanon, El Salvador, Grenada, Panama . . . and Iraq.

Sam Legg.



Editor: Watch out Ringling Brothers, the greatest show on earth may prove to be the media circus that came to town the day the allied forces launched the air raid on Iraq.

True, Saddam Hussein is a scary clown with a big bag of not-so-funny tricks. But I am more frightened of the network anchorman than the nefarious Mr. Hussein.

My heart goes out to the shut-ins, devoid of cable television, who must watch hour after hour of these blood-thirsty, power-tie-wearing correspondents.

We are all hungry for information concerning the safety of our troops and the well-being of the world community, but these reporters have become gluttonous scavengers, feeding on waste.

Granted, I was compelled to stare at a map of the Middle East while listening to the live account of the bombing of Baghdad -- but not for 40-some hours.

Couldn't they let us resume our lives for a little while as they gather and confirm new information? Of course not. We are forced to listen to every retired high-ranking military official, living or dead, and their interpretations and predictions.

War is hell, and I in no way, shape or form intend to lessen the gravity of this situation. My hope is the media will cease this ambush of unconfirmed information, relentless file footage and countless interviews with Joe Average. I am Joe Average, and I know what I think and feel, but the picture has become quite surreal and it's much more difficult to get a handle on those thoughts and feelings, virtually impossible with this deluge of mostly bogus information.

Yes, keep us informed, but use just a modicum of discretion when choosing a subject to interview and please, by all means, take the time to confirm the casualties.

Lisa Skrakowski Henry.


World Peace

Editor: If our world's problems can be settled only by caveman physical violence, then let us go to caveman weapons -- rocks, stones and clubs. Get rid of the chemical and nuclear, even the gun powder products.

And, listen to Tolstoy's suggestion made long ago. Line up the disagreeing leaders. Put the military forces of each behind him (or her). Then, have the military forces make the leaders fight physically until they reach an agreement on all problems. Repeat the procedure as needed.

Such change in military weapons and tactics would bring peace -- world peace.

Then there would be a world for all, humans and mammals and nature, to live in and enjoy.

Yes, I am suggesting that if our world continues to be exposed to our present weapons and tactics, there will be no world.

And yes, I remember past wars -- World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam. I was exposed to each one.

Miriam Ford Hoffecker.


No Boat Tax

Editor: I recommend that the Linowes commission reconsider the proposed 2-percent personal property tax for boats and cars. The government already charges boaters a user's fee, supposedly for the Coast Guard.

In another blow to the boating industry, the government has implemented a 10-percent sales tax on boats over $100,000 and cars over $30,000.

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