Make pols payMaybe politicians should be held personally...

the Forum

March 16, 1995

Make pols pay

Maybe politicians should be held personally liable for the increased health costs of their decisions.

If the motorcycle helmet law is thrown out, maybe the politicians who vote to get rid of it should have to pay the additional millions of dollars of medical care motorcyclists will need because they do not wear helmets in accidents.

If the speed limit is raised to 65 miles per hour, maybe the politicians who vote for the higher limit should have to pay for the increased number of injuries and fatalities which will occur, according to experiences in other states which raised the limit.

If the ban on smoking in workplaces is eliminated or diluted, maybe the politicians responsible should be assessed a percentage of medical costs due to smoking related cancer.

Why should the rest of us have to pay for the medical costs these politicians willfully cause?

Bob Krasnansky

Ellicott City

Illogical column

Regarding Glenn McNatt's column "And The Law Shall Make You Good" (March 11), some of the comments and accusations made by Mr. McNatt were so bizarre and irrational I found it hard to believe it was actually deemed printable . . .

Mr. McNatt attacks the Republicans' attempt to reform welfare. He has the audacity to compare receiving welfare to taking a deduction of home mortgage interest on your tax return.

In an attempt to make a point that is hard to defend, Mr. McNatt has gone completely off the wall. No logical mind can compare welfare to taking a legal deduction on your tax return.

Let me explain: Receiving welfare means receiving money from the government (i.e. other people's money paid in the form of taxes) for which you did not work or in any way earn.

Deducting home mortgage interest on your tax return is using an opportunity to keep a little bit more of the money that you earned during the year.

The main difference is that in welfare we're dealing with other people's money, on my tax return we're dealing with my money.

Mr. McNatt claims that we're not nearly as self-reliant as we ought to be.

I say that those of us who are self-reliant are footing the bill for those who aren't, and keeping a little more of what I work for using whatever tax deductions are available is not welfare.

It's becoming very tiresome being told that I'm somehow wrong by trying to keep some of what my husband and I earn.

What Mr. McNatt fails to understand is that the effort being made to reform welfare is not to force people to adhere to social norms and values. It is an effort to provide some relief to those of us who have been paying for the irresponsible behavior of our fellow citizens.

For that I applaud the Republicans' efforts and pray that they are successful.

Beth Ullmann

Bel Air

Housing disgrace

With reference to your article "$25 million drains away" (Feb. 19), there is no excuse for any home not to have been remodeled properly [by the Baltimore Housing Authority] no matter what the hurry was.

It just goes to show you that the Housing Authority and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke do not have the slightest idea what is involved in doing a quality job.

Every contractor who was involved should have to go back and make all necessary repairs correctly and at their own cost. Especially because this is taxpayer's money, they should not be able to get away with this.

They are not doing anything for anybody -- particularly the poor. What help is it if you move them from one disaster to another?

The taxpayers will just have to foot the bill again. This has become a disgrace.

Douglas A. Poling

Baltimore

Flat tax unfair

Under Sen. Arlen Specter's 20 percent flat tax proposal, my taxes would double while a rich playboy would pay nothing.

If this is the Republican concept of personal responsibility, I am not impressed. I have no objection to paying my fair share, but a scheme which excludes investment income from taxation has nothing to do with fairness.

I urge all concerned working people to contact their senators and congressmen and ask them to fight this unjust proposal.

`Katharine W. Rylaarsdam

Baltimore

Tax proposal targets wrong group

Don't be fooled into thinking the Baltimore County administration is trying to help people buy houses in the county by reducing closing costs by $352.

What is really going on is the enrichment of the General Fund through a new way of collecting more taxes without calling it a tax increase.

If Baltimore County wanted to help people buy houses, it would )) reduce the amount of property taxes collected at settlement, as does Baltimore City. County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger's idea just puts more money into the county coffers.

Why would this administration and the County Council offend the second largest constituency of senior citizens in the country and 80 percent of its property taxpayers by repealing or reducing the discount rate?

Mr. Ruppersberger is penalizing the wrong group. He should raise the penalty for late payment of taxes. Maybe he would collect more taxes in July and August if the penalty was severe.

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