Response to plight of vendor reveals role of private aid...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 24, 2000

Response to plight of vendor reveals role of private aid

William Henderson, better known as the "hot dog man" of Harlem Park, may have been surprised at the pledges of support he received to repair his hot dog cart in response to The Sun's article "A setback for `hot dog man'" (March 13).

Mr. Henderson may have felt he was alone in his work to feed the hungry children of his neighborhood at the end of every month when welfare funds get lean. He may have felt that no one cared.

FOR THE RECORD - A letter on last Friday's editorial page should have identified Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich as the congressman from Maryland's 2nd Congressional District. The Sun regrets the error.

The "hot dog man" has now learned what our elected representatives have yet to figure out: People are willing to give when they know where their money is going and can see immediate results.

The budget surpluses in Washington and Annapolis should be returned to their owners, the taxpayers, so that we may decide where that money is best spent.

Who knows, we may all be surprised at how generous people can be when they know the money they give isn't going to be swallowed up in the bureaucracy of an inefficient government program before it gets to the people it's intended to help.

Michael DiGiacomo

Bel Air

After I read The Sun's article about William Henderson' s mangled hot dog cart and his noble effort to feed hungry children, I immediately sent a small check toward the cost of a replacement. Now I read that I'm not the only one who was touched by the story or who sent (or pledged) money -- which really warmed my heart ("Callers pledge to rekindle hot dog program," March 14).

What annoyed me, however, was the suggestion that politicians should get involved. That's a sure way to ruin a terrific, locally-supported program.

I think it's better for these hungry youngsters to see that their neighbors are helping them, rather than seeing a government handout.

If nothing else, it teaches a better lesson.

Margot Grier

Silver Spring

Taxpayers should demand state's surplus be returned

Upon being overcharged 95 cents at the supermarket the average Maryland shopper would demand to see the manager and ask for a refund.

But on this great Democratic plantation called Maryland, taxpayers allow themselves to be overcharged by the state government with nary a protest.

Overcharging for groceries is immoral. So is overtaxing hardworking citizens, who are already hard-pressed to meet the rising cost of medical care, gasoline and higher education for their children.

Politicians in Annapolis, luxuriating in a billion-dollar surplus, say they will not return any of this ill-gotten treasure to the taxpayers.

They are going to build schools and finance new and questionable state programs.

Why aren't Maryland taxpayers up in arms over this travesty?

Have they allowed themselves to become cowed by the politicians they return to Annapolis year after year?

Harry R. Shriver

Pikesville

What a bunch of suckers the taxpayers of Maryland are.

First, the greedy legislators in Annapolis spend our $1 billion overpayment of taxes, which rightfully belonged to taxpayers and should have been returned.

Now those same legislators talk about "prudent money management" and make it clear that no tax cut will be forthcoming for next year. ("Hopes for tax cut at end," March 15).

Other states issue refunds to taxpayers when revenues exceed the budget. Not Maryland.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the state's legislators have no sense of shame as they recklessly spend every dollar that should have been returned to the state's hardworking, overburdened taxpayers.

Jeffrey N. Pritzker

Phoenix

Does governor only favor tax cuts in election years?

Gady Epstein's article ("Hopes for cut in tax at end," March 15) about the decision by Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the fiscal leaders of the state legislature to kill proposals to accelerate the tax cuts adopted in the last election year demonstrates just how out of touch our state leadership is with the rest of the country.

The state's billion-dollar surplus is enough money to increase state spending across the board, fund long-delayed capital needs, reward special interests that helped support the governor and lieutenant governor in the last election and speed up the tax relief approved two years ago.

When the legislative session began in January some of the most responsible voices in the General Assembly knew that the state could and should return some of its unneeded tax revenues to taxpayers.

Only the governor stood in the way of their calls to do so. He obviously got his way and rolled over the otherwise influential voices.

Let's call this what it is: preservation politics. Apparently, the governor and lieutenant governor cut taxes only when they're up for election.

Are they so worried that their grip on Maryland politics might slip that they must resort to these spending gimmicks?

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Washington

The writer represents Maryland's 3rd Congressional District.

Recess offers kindergarten's most lasting lessons

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