Editor: As a former resident of New York state, in Maryland for over five years, I have a few comments on the current budget deficit and state taxes.
On Long Island, before we moved, our property taxes were two percent of the property's actual market value. Here in Maryland, our first-year taxes were less than one percent of the purchase price.
Due to the artificially inflated property prices on Long Island, the actual taxes were $5,000 there, and only $900 here. We also found savings on auto insurance and general living expenses.
Recent visits to New York and to Connecticut gave us another surprise. Gasoline prices were 10 cents higher on Long Island and in Connecticut, and 20 cents higher just north of New York City, than here in Westminster. Yet Peter A. Jay says that Maryland gas taxes are ''one of the highest in the nation.''
New York sales tax is also higher than in Maryland. We did find Maryland income tax to be higher than in New York, but on balance we are way ahead financially as a result of the move here, and as a bonus the friendliness of the people and the less frantic life style soon convinced us that the move was one of the best things we ever did to change our lives.
A Cry for Help
Editor: It was with great interest that we read Suzanne Wooton's Nov. 24 article on Spring Grove Hospital Center. The more we read, the more indignant we became.
During a 12-year period, our son was a patient at Spring Grove on several occasions. He preferred Spring Grove to private mental facilities. He was housed in Dayhoff, Brick Cottage 3 and briefly in the now-closed Hamilton Building.
The article spells out difficult situations all too vividly, i.e. the need for greater physical space, somewhat drab surroundings and many seriously ill humans who lend a sadness to the picture. However, it fails altogether to point out how hard the doctors, social service people, nurses, and aides work.
This quality of care, genuine concern and effort to help each individual was a continuous thread throughout all those years. We think mental-health workers are among the most dedicated individuals we have met. Their experiences are often discouraging and heart-rending and yet they continue to do their utmost.
Further, there is a failure to highlight those who respond to the mental-health care and are successfully discharged to half-way houses or supervised apartments. There are many of these people who return to normal existence.
One cannot base one's opinions on a one-time visit to a facility whose financial support has slowly been diminishing when the need is greatest.
However, we applaud the effort on the part of the newspaper to call attention to an often forgotten world of humanity crying for help.
Mell and Betsey Spragins.
Editor: The presidents of UMAB and UMBC are incorrect in assuming that simple merger of the two campuses will lead to ''increased prestige'' as a leading research institution. Academic excellence and preeminence in basic research are attributes which are won over decades, not overnight. They are won by fostering and nurturing expertise within, and attracting the same from without. Compare our sister institution in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, which enjoys a number of Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy, to the UMAB and UMBC campuses, which have neither.
It is further lunacy to suggest that granting agencies will be more powerfully persuaded to award research funding to the united campuses simply on that basis. Research grants are awarded primarily on the basis of research merit, and the fact of institutional merger will have little impact on those decisions. This rationale for merger shows that our leadership is sorely lacking in foresight and is instead focused on the ''bottom line.'' If their attention were directed at the appropriate long term goals, that bottom line would take care of itself.
Dr. Paul B. Wolfe.
The writer is assistant professor of biological chemistry at the School of Medicine, UMAB.
Editor: One can hardly read a newspaper or watch a TV news program without being exposed to something concerning AIDS. It seems that the media and our legislators are more concerned with generally behavioral-type diseases that for the most part might be preventable by personal choice and life-style changes.
About 165,000 Americans suffer from AIDS; and another million have the HIV virus. The AIDS budget of the National Institutes of Health is about $800 million a year, while total spending on Alzheimer's disease, which afflicts about 4 million Americans is $245 million a year.
One wonders where are the sports idols, rock stars, etc., when it comes to raising money for research into Alzheimer's, cancer and heart disease. Why isn't more media attention given to Alzheimer's disease, cancer, heart failure and other disabilities
that are either inevitable or not preventable?
Edward F. Keska.