No New TaxesEditor: Who does this R. Robert Linowes think...


April 09, 1991

No New Taxes

Editor: Who does this R. Robert Linowes think he is?

He says that the Maryland taxpayer will not mind paying more in taxes if it is spent in the way he suggests and collected or assessed in the manner he recommends! Is that so? Has this man taken a sample poll to find this out, or does he just pull it out of his hat?

The last election indicates to me that the Maryland taxpayer is fed up with increased taxes no matter how he pays them or how the money is spent.

I think he and our chief executive better get with it and read the writing on the wall: No new taxes.

James J. Reilly.


State Benefits

Editor: As a state employee, I feel compelled to write in defense of our position regarding the proposed 40-hour work week.

I have difficulty understanding the public's notion that state employees are somehow spoiled and should be so grateful for having a job that working a measly extra 4.5 hours each week without pay should be accepted smilingly.

Believe me, we are very happy to have jobs and do realize that there are those who are not so lucky. However, perhaps the public is minimizing what 4.5 hours per week adds up to over the course of a year. The fact is we would be working an extra 6 weeks without pay.

We accepted positions with the state after being tested, interviewed and given a set of benefits and a salary scale to which we agreed. The salary that we receive is compensation for 35.5 hours per week, as was stated in any hiring negotiations that may have taken place.

The state now decides that it will: (1) Freeze our cost-of-living increases; (2) freeze promotions; (3) cut back our benefits and (4) raise our hours per week.

I wonder how many people employed in private industry would accept those changes in their contract without some chord of discontent.

Starrla Ippolito.


Banking Services Cost Money

Editor: If enough bank customers follow the ill-conceived advice given to them by consumer advocates in The Sun and other publications, there will simply never be an end to the expensive banking disasters that have already laid a heavy burden on the American taxpayer and can be expected to lay on even heavier ones far into the future.

In a recent -- but far from unique -- example, Philip Moeller offered the customary catastrophic advice: always take your checking account to the bank with the lowest net service charges.

But the services that banks provide are not furnished without cost. They are performed by human beings who must be paid at the prevailing wages of 1991, not of 1935.

If they are not performed by humans, they are carried out by expensive computers with expensive software.

The automatic teller machine did not find its way into your bank's wall by miraculous intervention, nor does it print its own money. The ancillary costs of running a bank are constantly rising.

Let us consider how two competing banks cope with these costs:

Bank A charges its customers a schedule of fees appropriate to the costs of the services rendered. Since its costs are paid by those for whom the services are performed, it can employ their money in sound, highly-rated, safe investments and prudent loans, passing on most of the interest earned to the depositors. The money will be safeguarded and the bank will not be a burden on the FDIC or on the taxpayer.

Bank B renders all its services free or at a very low cost and advertises the fact lavishly. It can cover its costs, and the costs of the advertising, only by searching out the most desperate individuals and the most unstable corporations, who necessarily have to pay higher rates on loans than do more desirable applicants. It invests its money in shaky loans and junk bonds. When the bad bonds default and the bad borrowers declare bankruptcy, the bank becomes a liability to the FDIC and to the taxpayer.

Depositors who follow the advice of Philip Moeller -- or Ralph Nader or Jane Bryant Quinn -- will unhesitatingly place their money in Bank B. When Bank B suffers insolvency, Mr. Moeller and his counterparts will hold up their hands in pious horror.

It is most regrettable that consumer advisers, asked to choose between a responsibly-managed institution and a recklessly-managed one, will in so many cases direct their readers and their funds toward the one most likely to become insolvent.

Robert L. Taylor.


Shell Games


Who's gotta egg

Who's gotta egg

Who's gotta guinea-gee

Who wanna pick-a me

Who's gotta egg?

That was the oft-repeated challenge during the week between Palm Sunday and Easter all around the Patterson Park-Highlandtown area by the neighboring boys during the 1920s.

Never having heard the phrase ''egg-fighting' described by Roger Tatarian, we have always considered this practice completely provincial and the private domain of East Baltimore where the only name of the game was ''pickin' eggs.''

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