A tax is a tax whatever you call it"Read my lips, no new...

the Forum

June 06, 1995

A tax is a tax whatever you call it

"Read my lips, no new taxes." That was the message that the American people spoke loud and clear this last election.

Few will forget that there was one politician who suffered defeat because he violated this principle. Well, it is absolutely amazing that newly elected Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger didn't get the message. Because he just raised the real estate taxes of 80 percent of Baltimore County's homeowners.

Our newly elected Democratic county executive has raised taxes by reducing the discount that Baltimore County homeowners receive for paying their taxes early.

He might not agree that it was a tax increase. Perhaps he would prefer the more politically correct term of "revenue enhancement." But if 80 percent of Baltimore County homeowners pay more real estate taxes, then it is a "tax increase." Who is he kidding?

Now, Mr. Ruppersberger's stated purpose in this tax increase is to encourage more citizens to buy homes and stay in Baltimore County by using this money to reduce settlement costs for new home buyers.

I agree that we must encourage our "upwardly mobile" citizens to stay in Baltimore County. But there are many other ways to do this without creating a larger tax burden on Baltimore County citizens.

Reducing settlement costs by about $300 might encourage someone to make their home in Baltimore County, as opposed to, say, Harford County.

But does increasing real estate taxes for 80 percent of homeowners for the rest of their lives really encourage anyone to want to move into Baltimore County? I don't think so.

Al Thompson

Perry Hall

Bosnia danger

Even if President Clinton and U.S. forces succeed in moving United Nations peacekeepers to safe areas in Bosnia, what good are they going to be to anybody if they are holed up in safe areas which could become very unsafe at the whim of either warring faction?

Chuck Frainie

Woodlawn

Serbs in Bosnia

It's hard to imagine more consistent ineptitude in the face of terrorism and barbarity than the United Nations' actions in Bosnia.

For three years the policies have sounded like "Alice in Wonderland," while the results have been the tragic loss of innocent life and increased instability.

Bloody war broke out when the recognized nation of Bosnia was invaded by Serbs, in response to which the U.N. sent lightly armed soldiers to "keep the peace."

Noncombatant women and children were tortured, raped and killed, primarily by Serb forces, which forced the Europeans to embargo all arms and other means of self-defense for both the victims and the well-armed Serbian military.

U.N. peacekeepers and diplomats under U.N. protection have been targeted, killed and taken hostage. This caused the U.N. to affirm the rules of engagement that prevent self-defense or retaliatory fire.

As repeated ultimatums are ignored, and the NATO allies are humiliated by the same Serbian thugs who perpetrated ethnic cleansing, the U.S. was told that no military action could be taken to inhibit the spread of conflict or to enforce sanctuaries, due to the presence of peacekeepers.

By now the need to remove the arms embargo from the victims and the peacekeepers from harm's way should be painfully clear.

And the reasons to end blackmail, murder, defiance of international law and pusillanimous vacillation are even more numerous and compelling.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Election issues

This seems to be a campaign for mayor in Baltimore City with no issues.

We have three intelligent individuals, well educated and each having expertise in his or her own field, but no one is showing his or her integrity to the people of Baltimore City.

First, we hear, "I'm going to be different and tougher for this election." Well, why wasn't he tough in the past? Does the city need someone only to get tough when it is time for election?

Second, we hear, "I can do a better job." Maybe, but does the city need someone to just point fingers or play tit for tat?

Thirdly, we hear, "Well, the business community is after me to run." Does the city need just anyone to run?

Come on. Baltimore City deserves better. Start with some issues:

How about equity raises for teachers, police and fire persons?

How about researching the present laws to see which ones need to be implemented, or amended? Some need to be rewritten to help victims instead of encouraging criminals.

How about taking a hard look as to why businesses are moving out of downtown?

How about lowering property taxes for senior citizens?

How about teaching citizens to be accountable in rental property?

How about encouraging youth to read more in summer with some type of compensation?

This list could go on. All the distraction is just a political game to avoid statements on issues. I feel that people living in Baltimore City are intelligent and would like to hear issues and not just criticisms.

Narda Terry

Baltimore

Housing plans

The Sun ran an informative article May 30 about Baltimore's public housing and vacant properties problems. The solution seems easy.

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