Killing tobacco bill could cost state funds for drug...


April 08, 2001

Killing tobacco bill could cost state funds for drug treatment

Taylor Branch eloquently wrote of the state's ineffectiveness in prohibiting merchants from selling tobacco to young people and the failure of the Maryland General Assembly to a proposal to correct this problem ("Tobacco wins, kids lose," Opinion Commentary, March 29).

Along with being a disservice to our youth and our public health, the failure of the House Environmental Matters Committee to pass the bill that would have imposed stiff penalties on merchants who violate tobacco laws (House Bill 437) jeopardizes more than $12 million in federal addiction treatment funds.

The federal government has used the threat of cutting states' treatment dollars as a stick to get states to reduce access to tobacco products by youth. Eleven states have already been sanctioned.

The bill would have brought Maryland into compliance with federal law.

Now, as the state is making large increases in funding for addiction treatment, that may all be for nought because we might lose precious federal funds.

Ann Ciekot


The writer directs advocacy for the Maryland chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc.

The governor's budget is sure to be a bust

Did this year's budget debate in Annapolis ring a bell? It should have.

As county executive, Parris N. Glendening left Prince George's County with a $100 million deficit in 1995, thanks to a budget that far outstripped county revenues. This year, his budget spends $900 million more than the state will collect in revenue. He'll be long gone when the bills come due.

Mr. Glendening can't even reconcile the imbalance between revenue and expenditures himself. He sent a spokesman to try to lay blame at President Bush's feet. Last time I checked, the president was touting a tax cut as a stimulus for the economy, not asking Maryland legislators to vote for a budget doomed to fail.

There will be plenty of finger-pointing when Mr. Glendening's budget busts. I hope The Sun will make sure the credit goes right where it belongs: to the governor and the legislature's fiscal leaders.

Sean M. McGraw

Owings Mills

Legislators spend like drunken sailors

The old seaport of Annapolis is the appropriate site for Maryland's General Assembly because the legislators and the governor are spending money like drunken sailors. Unfortunately, in the future when state revenues do not keep up with this spending spree, their solution will be more taxes.

Are we allowed to have our elected representatives "keel-hauled"?

Larry Johnston


By reining in colleagues, legislators serve the public

As a Marylander and a Democrat, I say thank goodness for Sen. Walter M. Baker and Del. Joseph F. Vallario and their decisions to hold tight reins on bills that come before them ("Two legislators, too much power," Opinion Commentary, April 1).

They save us from overzealous legislators who have a penchant for introducing legislation that may eventually require us to wear a helmet when standing on a stepstool in our own homes.

I say to Mr. Baker and Mr. Vallario: Keep up the good work -- and remember, if The Sun is against you, you must be doing something right.

R. A. Bacigalupa


Bush's judicial choice shows no loyalty to Maryland GOP

How can President Bush be so ignorant of the Maryland Republican Party's tremendous efforts on his behalf that he would deliberately turn his back on them ("Choice for 4th Circuit snubs state GOP," editorial, March 31)?

Republican leaders Ellen R. Sauerbrey, Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich and former state party chairman Richard D. Bennett should have been consulted. To deliberately slight them by naming Peter D. Keisler, a Washington D.C., attorney, to succeed Francis D. Murnaghan Jr. on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is ludicrous.

This action is certainly proof that loyalty to his Republican Party in Maryland is not one of the president's attributes.

Walter Boyd


Working to pardon murderer isn't the City Council's job

Councilman Norman Handy and the co-sponsors of the resolution to pardon convicted killer Marshall Conway should be ashamed of themselves.

We lived in the city at the time of the killing of Officer Donald Sager and remember the circumstances. We totally agree with Gregory Kane: This was a setup to kill Officer Sager and his partner in cold blood ("City Council should check the facts on officer's killer," April 4).

Mr. Handy and his co-sponsors should be concentrating on helping their constituents combat crime and improve the quality of live in the city. They should not be using their tax-paid time to get a convicted killer released from prison.

Patricia Cummings Edward Cummings BrooklynPresident Reagan did cause nation's debt to explode

The recent letter "Democrats' overspending created our national debt" (March 28) was inaccurate.

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