Earned IncomeIn his March 1 letter, the Rev. Ed Heim is...


March 09, 1994

Earned Income

In his March 1 letter, the Rev. Ed Heim is upset about recent recommendations to stop giving public assistance increases to poor women when they have another child.

He asks for a justification and says, "The rest of society fully expects increased tax deductions and increased take-home pay after filing a new W-2 form to support their new family member."

On behalf of "the rest of society," I would like to set the record straight. Yes, we expect increased tax deductions to support new family members. After all, it's our money we're talking about.

That tax deduction is not the largess of the government, as the Reverend Heim apparently believes. It is money that we, the productive members of society, have worked for and earned through our own efforts.

We who work do so to support ourselves and our families, not someone else's.

The money that the Reverend Heim would like to give in increased assistance to the poor is money that we could use to send our children to college, to go to Orioles games, to take an occasional vacation or to do any number of things.

Are we unreasonably selfish? I don't think so. After all, we earned that money by working for it. It is ours, by dint of that effort.

I am not unsympathetic to the plight of the poor. Those in genuine need do need some support.

However, we who work and earn a living are tired of hearing that we and our families should make do with less and less so that those who do not produce can have more and more.

Roy Trudel

Ellicott City


Seldom has so much been attempted for so few, at the expense of so many. I am referring to Mayor Kurt Schmoke's aborted tax credit for the purchasers of condominiums in the HarborView development.

The cumulative cost of the proposed tax credit over five years to the citizens of Baltimore in lost revenue exceeded $2 million.

Given: HarborView has 248 units. Baltimore's tax rate is $5.90 per $100 of assessed valuation. Assessed valuation is 40 percent of market value. Mayor Schmoke's proposed tax forgiveness bill averaged 30 percent for five years.

Assume: Market value of a HarborView unit will equal the purchase price for five years and average unit purchase price is $235,000.

Therefore: $235,000 x .40 x .0590 x .30 x 5 x 248 = $2,063,112.

What was the mayor thinking? Is he so insulated to be unaware of the concerns of the other citizens of Federal Hill?

Is the view from HarborView so poor tax inducements must be provided? Does one quickly tire of seeing the Pride of Baltimore go by under full sail?

Is the din of the frolicking and splashing in the pool a distraction? Maybe the sound of halyards tapping on the masts in the marina is upsetting? Are the amenities below par? Is 24-hour valet parking only provided six days a week?

Just imagine how $2 million could be spent. For starters, police protection. Hire to fill vacancies so we could assure follow up and investigation of the recent kidnapping and armed robbery in Federal Hill, or it could defer part of the cost of the extra police who now patrol Federal Hill on school days. The money could be spent in the schools, for salary increases of municipal employees. Just to name a few.

The plans for HarborView call for a total of 1,590 units, so the aggregate loss of tax revenues over time would be between $20 million and $30 million. The fact the HarborView units are selling poorly either because they are overpriced or have a poor view or lack certain amenities should not be a cost borne by the other citizens of Baltimore.

The present city administration has not done well when it intervenes in real estate activities, specifically the Belvedere Hotel and the Harrison Hotel. Instead of "once burned, twice shy" Mayor Schmoke's motto seems "twice burned, not all shy."

Frank R. Reilly


Northern Ireland

I would like to express some of the reasons the majority of the citizens of Northern Ireland consider themselves British by nationality and want to remain so.

A decision was made by all the counties of Ireland after World War I on whether or not to remain in the British Commonwealth.

By popular vote, the six counties of Northern Ireland (known as Ulster) chose to stay united with Great Britain. These same counties have ties to Great Britain going back over 400 years.

Many benefits that the citizens of Northern Ireland receive because of the financial support of Great Britain would be in jeopardy if these counties lost their British citizenship. Listed below are a few:

1. Every child born in Northern Ireland receives free milk for the first year of birth.

2. Free medical care for all citizens from cradle to grave.

3. Free university education or trade school training.

4. Financial energy and housing assistance for aged and retired.

5. Free convalescent home care (without losing personal savings as in the U.S.).

These are just a few examples that the average American is not aware of and are never mentioned by the media.

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