Editor: The Jan. 27 letter from Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein regarding the method for distributing the proposed increase in the piggyback income tax is misleading in two respects.
First, unlike Sens. John Pica and Barbara Hoffman's bill, Gov. William Donald Schaefer's bill would distribute a portion of the piggyback income tax on the basis of wage data provided by the Department of Economic and Employment Development. The department has been collecting this information for years. The comptroller has only to pay out the money as directed, as he has for years. No problem.
Second, a true commuter tax would tax income earned in Maryland at the place where earned, regardless of whether the taxpayer lives in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania or D.C. On the other hand, the Pica-Hoffman and governor's proposals deal only with the distribution of taxes paid by Maryland residents. D.C. residents working in Maryland would not be subject to the tax, and so would have no basis for claiming a right to tax Marylanders working in D.C.
The writer was formerly an assistant secretary in the Maryland Department of Budget and Fiscal Planning.
Editor: Maryland's legislative leaders should take seriously the GOP-proposed budget which would balance the state's budget next year without raising taxes on the already overburdened taxpayers.
Instead, Governor Schaefer's tax proposal looks to expand the sales tax to cable TV, dry cleaning, auto repairs and data processing.
We shouldn't expand taxes. The governor should get legislative leaders to study the Republican budget proposal, which is fair and sensible with no additional taxes.
Editor: The recent articles detailing the impact of the Medicaid program on the state budget were excellent. They bring to public attention the complexity of the myriad problems that have to be addressed.
The demographics of the Medicaid population have drastically changed from what they were at the time the Medicaid program was conceived and created.
Today, the public's conception of Medicaid is concentrated on acute care costs. Studies have shown that a large percentage of high cost care resources are utilized by long term care populations.
Acute care costs and long term care costs are so intertwined that deferring consideration of long term case costs for future consideration, as advanced by many of the proposed solutions, may not achieve a comprehensive answer to our health care financing problems.
Any realistic plan for solution of health care financing problems must include consideration of long term care populations and their cost.
Joseph I. Pines.
Editor: It really came as no surprise to many of us when the second man involved in the cold-blooded murder of a Maryland state trooper received life imprisonment just like his previously convicted accomplice. But if this was not the classic death penalty case, then where is it?
The death penalty was revived in this and many other states because the citizens and the courts were sick and tired of criminals who could unmercifully murder anyone they chose with no fear of geing punished for their crimes. Instead the criminal would be supported by taxpayers at an approximate cost of $50,000 per year in a prison system somewhere. What would make any murderer think twice about pulling the trigger under these circumstances?
It certainly erodes our system of protection from these murderers, robbers, rapists, etc. when our devoted protectors in law enforcement are viciously murdered and the evil villain does not get the punishment he deserves; unless you consider free housing, free medical, free dental, free education, etc. (at taxpayers' expense) the appropriate punishment in such a violent crime against society. And this was not just any violent crime. What could be more unthinkable than to shoot a Maryland state trooper twice in the head as he sits in his car writing a speeding ticket that someone asked for?
There is little doubt that the jurors who felt sorry for these murderers because they decided to cry in court did not put themselves in Ginny Wolf's shoes as she stood on her doorsteps to hear that her husband was now dead while trying to protect the society he loved.
What kind of a society have we become? Although I am not yet 40 years old, I remember when the murder of anyone sent shock waves through a community and state. Now daily murders are often but a small piece of print that no longer makes headlines. We have become a complacent, numb, and calloused society to very grave injustices against mankind. Inasmuch as our state legislature is currently in session, let's take this time to remind all of our local and federal legislators that we are no longer satisfied with the status quo when it comes to ruthless murder without punishment.
No Waste There