Surtax HogwashThe public should support legislation in the...


December 30, 1993

Surtax Hogwash

The public should support legislation in the 1994 General Assembly to extend the surtax on high incomes.

As a middle class person, I resent having to pay what amounts to a higher tax rate than upper income Marylanders, when sales taxes and Social Security are figured in.

The surtax on high incomes at least begins to balance the situation. And on top of that, we all know the state needs the additional revenue to pay for education and infrastructure and to fight crime.

The argument that the surtax has a negative effect on Maryland's business climate is hogwash. It's not even a tax on business.

The real reason that some irresponsible business people make that argument is that they just don't want to pay higher taxes -- for reasons that have nothing to do with public policy and everything to do with private greed.

I hope our political leaders will stand up for the middle class and extend the surtax on high incomes.

Matthew Weinstein


Drug Studies

As a concerned citizen, public servant and advocate for socially suppressed and economically depressed fellow humans, I have a word to say on the issue of decriminalization of drugs.

It is not correct to use the terms of decriminalization and legalization interchangebly.

They do not mean the same. Those who propose the first do not mean the latter.

The real issue seems to be just why do some public figures, including our beloved president, rebel so vehemently against even the suggestion that a serious study of the probability be made.

One could conclude it is because of political fallout, especially as it relates to the vested business interests.

It seems evident that many law-abiding people profit greatly from the illegal drug trade.

Automobile dealerships would have to be high on the list. How many more expensive luxury cars are sold country-wide to people who could not purchase such vehicles otherwise?

Realtors of luxury accommodations could also be beneficiaries of revenues generated from this activity.

To perhaps a lesser extent, the health services. And without a doubt, so are many funeral establishments.

On and on such a list could grow. Sad to say, maybe even touching our law enforcement community in some individual cases.

Since no one doubts the criminal activity and violence associated with the drug trafficking, why shouldn't all preventive as well as punitive and curative methods be studied?

After all, we'll be spending millions to study such trivia as the sex life of the gadfly.

Herbert H. Locklear


French Folly

"Of all the crosses I had to bear, my heaviest was the Cross of Lorraine," reminisced Winston Churchill.

Your penetrating editorial, "The Glory That Was France," points to the fact that Churchill and the Britons did not suffer alone: Americans also are called upon to shoulder their share of French pain.

As you point out, pulling France's chestnuts twice out of the fire, plus massive infusions of charity give-aways, seem to have made but little impact.

Your editorial explains this with profound insight: French attitude is what it is, not despite France's insignificance as a military and economic power, but because of it. However, are not the Anglo-Saxons to a large extent culpable of aiding and abetting French pretension and megalomania?

Why did our political leaders allow the French to participate in the partition of Germany, by whom they were decisively thrashed twice in one century which, were it not for American help, might have been thrice?

Allowing France to sit with veto power on the U.N. Security Council has always baffled my understanding. Why not Italy, for example?

Peter A. Castruccio


City Fire Fighter Staffing

On Dec. 19, a congratulatory letter appeared on this page from Calhoun Bond, a former president of the Board of Fire Commissioners. He commends the mayor, Chief Herman Williams and the current board for the recent addition of two classes of fire fighters.

For that we, too, share his enthusiasm. He further states, however, that "with the addition of those graduates, equipment will respond fully staffed . . ." and it is that statement with which we take issue.

The fact of the matter is that, despite the addition of those two classes, upward of half of the engine companies in the city continue to respond with short, three-man crews.

With all due respect to Mr. Bond, we would suggest that he has either been away from the department too long, or he is receiving bad information from those with whom he does keep touch.

We invite Mr. Bond or anyone else to talk with those who serve on the front line of the Baltimore City Fire Department before discussing staffing levels of fire apparatus in our department.

The three-man crew is the legacy of a former chief and a very sore subject with us. It is a policy that has, and will continue to take a toll in immeasurable ways. It only adds insult to injury to misstate the facts.

Stephan G. Fugate


The writer is secretary treasurer of Baltimore Fire Officers Association, Local 964.

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