Commuter tax could hurt city instead of helpA piggyback...

the Forum

December 16, 1992

Commuter tax could hurt city instead of help

A piggyback tax on city workers is a bad idea. If you single out people who work in the city to pay an extra tax, then (1) people won't want to work in the city, and (2) businesses thinking of moving will have an additional reason to stay out of the city.

I work in the city and live in the county. I ride into the city every day and, yes, I use city services. I'm sure my employer pays for those services through water bills and taxes.

I buy lunch in the city, I pay to park in the city, I frequently buy gas in the city, and I frequently shop in the city on my lunch break. There are thousands of other county residents who do the same every day. This results in a tremendous influx of money.

If I choose not to work in the city, or any business relocates out of the city, the economic impact of losing the dollars spent in the city every day will be much greater than any benefit from a piggyback tax.

I agree the city needs more revenue. All citizens of the state should contribute to help the city. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

David Plaut

Reisterstown

Who did what

I read with interest Michael Fletcher's article Dec. 9, "Car insurance coalition trying to raise $60,000."

The attention of many individuals and associations throughout the U.S. is focused on the mayor of Baltimore and the City Council -- anxiously awaiting the outcome of a sometimes committed approach to researching the feasibility of a publicly owned nonprofit insurance company. Not the least of these interested parties is Ralph Nader's Washington-based public interest organization.

All who are following the seriously deficient reporting about the City-Wide Insurance Coalition's efforts are well aware that the feasibility study in question has reached this critical phase only through the tireless efforts of A. Robert Kaufman.

Particularly disturbing now is the political grandstanding of Councilman Melvin L. Stukes, D-6th. Until very recently, Mr. Stukes had done precious little to promote the study. Hence, it's astonishing that he is now attempting to aggrandize to himself appreciation for the impressive headway achieved by the coalition.

Perhaps, Mr. Stukes's greatest asset is his adeptness at building a political career by convincing the public to recognize him for accomplishments not of his own making.

Rev. Jerry D. Kallmyer

Abingdon

The folly of unbridled federal spending

The primary focus of the recent election was the economy. Yet here we are, one month later, with our president and Congress again committing us to spending billions of dollars that we don't have.

No one seems to be seriously looking at how to reduce expenditures and cut the deficit. If it is talked about it at all, it's talk and no action.

It is unconscionable that the president and Congress believe -- or at least want us to believe -- that we still have the financial ability to do the things that they are committing us to.

Today we spend 61 percent of every federal tax dollar collected on personal incomes to pay the interest on the national debt. We will have increased that debt by $400 billion in just this year alone.

And yet, our president and the Congress continue to spend.

It took this country more than 200 years to run up its first trillion dollars in federal debt. It took only 10 years to add another $3 trillion.

And still they continue to spend more.

It is projected that by 1995, our debt will have reached $6.6 trillion. The interest alone on this debt will amount to more than the federal government collects in personal income taxes and will be equal to 85 percent or more of all federal income tax revenues.

And still, they continue to spend more.

The media reports that consumer debt is dropping. Individuals and families realize they must deny themselves certain things now to ensure their financial survival in the future, and they are taking the steps necessary. They know they couldn't run their household if 85 percent of everything they earned went to pay the interest on their credit cards.

Doesn't our government know it's just as true for our country?

We as a country are not bankrupt -- yet. There is still a way to step off the path of fiscal insanity that our elected officials are following. It is our job as citizens and voters to force our government to act responsibly and to make it realize that we are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to keep ourselves, our children and our country from dying of debt.

The large number of votes for Ross Perot should have sent a message to President-elect Bill Clinton and Congress. The message sent was: Stop spending money we don't have.

It's obvious they haven't gotten the message. I urge everyone who believes this country is worth saving to call or write their elected officials and make them hear us.

John M. Oliva

Brooklyn

Adequate fire protection costs money

The demise of the piggyback tax increase was not welcome news for the Baltimore City Fire Department.

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