Development seems to take precedenceI read with dismay the...

Letters

July 11, 1999

Development seems to take precedence

I read with dismay the June 30, article "Robey keeps Rutter on job". My community will never forget, nor should this county forget, how Joe Rutter adamantly opposed the Lazy S alternative for Route 100 in the early 90s during Howard Ecker's administration.

Mr. Rutter felt that putting Route 100 in its current Lazy S location through corn fields would not benefit the county's desire to have a mixed use center at the corner of Route 108 and Old Montgomery Road.

In Mr. Rutter's eyes, shaving off an additional 6 acres from the alignment he supported made the resulting 165 not usable for single family homes or mixed-use development. According to Mr. Rutter, putting Route 100 through the existing development of Hunt County Estates was a far better alternative.

The fact that the Lazy S cost less for the state and county to build, saved an existing community and destroyed the least amount of wetlands were not good enough reasons to favor it, in the light of future development. I know of no instance where future development came so close to taking precedence over existing communities especially when there was an alternative that had everything going for it. It's beyond comprehension.

One thing's for sure, either Dr. Ecker made him do it, or the devil made him do it. Unfortunately, this county's in big trouble if the good chemistry between Robey and Mr. Rutter continues. It takes more than good chemistry to be a good steward of this county.

Whats been lacking is the combination of knowledge, vision and integrity of men and women such as James Holway and Susan Gray. I hope that Mr. Robey takes a closer look at his constituents, justified concerns, based on fact, and does the right thing soon.

Valerie L. McGuire, Ellicott City

Questions raised about commandments

I am puzzled and concerned about the proposals in Congress to post the Ten Commandments in schools.

Presumably, the posting would be more than the frequently used list of ten Roman numerals, suggesting the actual commandments, and would actually spell out the commandments, to give the children the full benefit of biblical guidance.

However, I do not think it would take long for the older children to begin to appreciate that God did not prohibit premarital intercourse among his people, as He did adultery.

If God didn't take this opportunity to enjoin abstinence, what sort of a message will we be giving children by posting the commandments, highlighting that God didn't (and doesn't) consider it a matter of importance.

Perhaps the commandments could be posted with a congressionally supplied addendum speaking to the issue.

Gerald B. Johnston, Ellicott City

Comproller Schaefer on the money with crackdown on sales tax scofflaws

Kudos to Comptroller William Donald Schaefer for his initiative to educate the public about the law requiring payment of sales tax on products bought from out of state and to enforce it.

Capturing the tax revenue lost on Internet, catalog and other out-of-state purchases is imperative for the health of local Main Street retail businesses and for the health of local economies. It is not only a matter of taxes; it is also a matter of fairness. For these reasons, finding solutions to the problem of lost tax revenues and the attendant price advantage from Internet and other interstate sales has been and remains high on the legislative and policy agenda of the National Association of Counties (NACo).

This problem is not only enormous, it is growing faster than kudzu on a sunny hillside. Sales tax is the second largest revenue source in the state's General Fund budget. In fiscal 2000, the sales tax will produce $2.35 billion in revenue to the state. This revenue is equal to more than two-thirds of the state's expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools. It is double the state's spending on public safety. It is, in short, an important component of our tax base. And it is shrinking. In fiscal year 1998, sales tax revenues accounted for 13.7 percent of the state's total revenues; in fiscal year 2000, the sales tax is projected to account for only 13.4 percent of revenues. Without a change in policy, this decline will become even more steep.

Internet's impact

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