Most callers favor a tax increase to cutting services. Many fearful of uncertainty in the economy

October 07, 1991|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Evening Sun Staff

David Czarski talks about disposable diapers, baby shoes and winter coats for his two little boys and wonders how he's ever going to make it.

He's been laid-off from a Baltimore steelyard for eight months -- after 18 years of work as a machine operator -- and his unemployment benefits have expired.

"I've worked all my life, and I've never been in this situation," he said. "I'm very scared. I go to sleep at night and wonder how I'm going to make ends meet. Diapers, formulas, gas, electric bills."

Czarski was one of more than 200 readers who responded last week to an Evening Sun call-in asking for opinions about the state budget cuts and the over-all effects of the recession.

"All I can say is, at this time, if they were to raise my taxes, I won't have money to pay for it," Czarski said. "It just seems there are other places in the budget they can cut."

Gov. William Donald Schaefer's executive staff and salary, for example, he said.

"I think it was all a ploy, too, with Schaefer," Czarski said about the governor's plan to cut Med-evac rescue helicopter services and lay off state troopers. "He's doing this to raise taxes. He's trying to make us be the bad guys because we don't want to raise taxes."

Sure his heart goes out to the 1,766 state workers who'll be getting the pink slip Nov. 1. But they've got to quit the whining and crying, he said.

"Nothing's guaranteed. They act just because they're state workers that they should never lose their jobs," said Czarski. "They've got to realize the state's a business, too. They're losing money. They've got to cut."

Budget cuts, tax increases and state employee lay-offs are hot topics of conversation for most people nowadays. It's no wonder. After years of bliss and budget contentment, the state's financial crisis has people riled up.

Those who responded to the call-in expressed disgust with the governor's handling of the situation. Others pointed a finger at the General Assembly.

Some fear a crime spree because of the state trooper lay-offs and others wonder what will happen to the poor when General Public Assistance money stops flowing. Some say increase taxes; others say trim the fat in government spending.

Czarski's call for no tax increase and more budget cuts was the dTC minority view. The majority of the respondents -- about two-thirds -- believe a tax increase is the only way to beat the $450 million budget deficit.

"Right now, taxes have got to be raised, because there's no getting around that," said William Carpenter, a Pasadena mechanic. "I can't stand much more on taxes, but we need everything the governor's going to cut."

Ann Hymiller, of Woodlawn, would rather see her taxes increased than see people lose their jobs -- especially the state troopers. "You need them. If you don't have them, things are going to run rampant," she said. "Everybody would like to see the budget cut back, but if it means people losing their jobs, then [add] a penny [to the] sales tax."

Hymiller said her heart goes out to the governor. "I really feel sorry for the man," she said. "He's got a lot of responsibility and a lot of people to deal with."

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