Racing LobbyEditor: Lewis R. Curlett Jr.'s letter, Dec...


January 04, 1992

Racing Lobby

Editor: Lewis R. Curlett Jr.'s letter, Dec. 28, hit the nail right on the button.

In the first year of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's administration, Frank DeFrancis requested relief from taxes on race tracks. The legislature and Governor Schaefer granted the request and reduced the tax from five cents a half-cent for every dollar bet at the track.

With the average play at a track $1 million, which people who go to the track tell me is about average, the state is now collecting $5,000. Before the tax was changed the state was collecting $50,000.

Racing is active in Maryland 360 days per year. The difference between the old rate and newer rate means the state has lost $16.2 million per year since this tax was reduced.

Perhaps my memory is short, but I cannot remember any other taxes which have been reduced during the current administration. It seems that all other taxes have been increased, with constant talk of even higher taxes.

With a sales tax of five cents it would take $324 million in sales to generate the same tax revenue. With a state income tax of 7

percent it would take $231 million of earned income or the tax on 7,714 citizens earning $30,000 per year to make up that lost $16.2 million.

Should ''the boys in Annapolis'' look at the taxes on racing only if citizen pressure is stronger than the racing lobby?

Charles D. Connelly. Baltimore.

On the Run

Editor: It passed through my mind that Baltimore would probably look a lot like Brussels if people cared.

Unfortunately, everybody wants to live outside the town for various reasons, including crime, taxes and parking.

This means that the nice buildings tend to fall victim to the slumlords or to ''Rambo Architecture.'' This is a Belgian term used to describe the destruction of usable old buildings to make way for ''anything-will-do'' structures.

I look at some of the neighborhoods here, including my own, and think how nice it would be if people cared about Baltimore. People could be living in the wonderful, old row-houses here in the city, rather than commuting for hours and wasting so much time and fuel and paying exorbitant prices for houses that might not outlast the mortgage.

Sure it's fantasy, but why not? Why can't people start to care about the world in which they live rather than just letting it go away? Do they think the problems will end just because they move outside the beltway? Has it ever occurred to them that by running away from the problems in the city, they are only putting off the day when they will need to deal with these same problems on their own suburban doorsteps? And that the problems will be harder to solve by that later date?

Oh, well, I suppose I should really have no cause for such pessimism. After all, America is such a large country. Unlike tiny Europe, Americans will always have plenty of resources, plenty of land and plenty of places to hide from themselves and others. Won't they?

Americans don't really need to concern themselves with preservation of either buildings or society. They'll always have some place to run.

% C. James Troy Jr. Baltimore.

Raise Taxes

Editor: Everybody seems to agree that government should run like good business. When faced with fiscal crisis, reduce costs. When these alone don't work, businesses either raise prices or shut down.

I haven't heard anyone suggest that our local governments file bankruptcy, thus the only remaining option is to raise prices. That means increasing the cost to customers of the products that customers want or raising taxes to pay for government services.

I urge our political leaders to stop playing word games, and to do openly and unhesitatingly what they must do: raise taxes.

The debate should center only on increasing taxes fairly and sensibly. Before matters get any worse, as Gov. William Donald Schaefer used to say, ''do it now!''

$Louis Brendan Curran. Owings Mills.


Editor: Opposition by motorcyclists to the proposed helmet law amazes me.

Given the depressed economy of Maryland, you would think everyone would want to contribute to financial stability.

If wearing a helmet can save $1.3 million a year in Medicaid and help secure federal highway safety grants available to states with helmet laws, one would think cyclists would set patriotism above machismo.

!Joyce C. Robinson.

Glen Burnie.

Help Dominican Baseball Kids

Editor: Old baseball gloves, bats, balls, remnants of uniforms -- I'll bet that Baltimore's attics, basements and garages contain tons of this stuff.

So why not send it all to the Dominican kids so poignantly described in Sun sports columnist John Eisenberg's recent -- and heart-wrenching -- series about the game in the Caribbean?

The Orioles could designate a collection point and then ship it all to Carlos Bernhardt, the club's scout in the Dominican Republic. can't think of a better way for baseball and baseball fans to start the New Year.

William Stump. Cockeysville.

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