Putting off tax cut could fund services the state badly...


February 24, 2002

Putting off tax cut could fund services the state badly needs

The Maryland General Assembly leadership's pledge to cut income taxes is short-sighted ("Md. bill saves income taxes," Feb. 15). The governor's call for a delay in the final stage of the income tax cut is not only the fiscally responsible thing to do, it's the right thing to do.

The Sun has reported that the postponement would cost a family of four earning $53,000 about $75 this year. However, moving ahead with the tax cut at this time could cost that same family a lot more in critical services.

How far will $75 go for those in need of mental health care, single mothers struggling to pay for child care so that they can earn a living or further their education, the elderly overwhelmed by prescription drug costs, local jurisdictions desperate for transportation improvements and communities fighting to ensure a safe place to raise their families?

Was a commitment made to cut taxes? You bet. But commitments were also made on other fronts.

It is simply a question of priorities -- and moving ahead with the tax cut at this time will cost us in the long run.

Jason Canapp


The writer is president of the Lake Walker Community Association.

I was very disappointed to read that leaders of the Maryland General Assembly are so quick to refuse to consider Gov. Parris N. Glendening's proposal to delay the last installment of the tax cut ("Legislators say they will honor tax cut," Feb. 13).

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's comment that "we want to demonstrate to the public that this is not a tax-and-spend state" smacks of political cowardice.

It seems to me that the governor's proposal should be seriously debated. If the case can be made that delaying the tax cut will be of more benefit in the long run to the people of this state than a blind adherence to the original schedule, passed under very different circumstances, then this citizen is willing to listen.

I will happily forgo the relatively small benefit I, as an individual, would otherwise receive if it means the state remains solvent and can meet its commitments to services that benefit all Marylanders.

Sure, I'd like to pay less in taxes, but the pittance I would save is unimportant in comparison.

Perhaps I am not alone in my view.

Alan Gephardt


Redistricting map defies any discernible logic

I had heard about the problems with the new redistricting plan for the Maryland congressional districts, but it wasn't until I saw the map in The Sun on Feb. 19 that I understood the objections ("Redistricting map slices Balto. Co. `like a piece of pie'"). The map is so contrived and convoluted as to completely defy any logic.

Perhaps future students of political science will study this as the most blatant example of the art of gerrymandering. This is Maryland politics at its worst.

The only other reasonable explanation for such a convoluted redistricting map is that perhaps, late at night, in some smoke-filled back room, someone accidentally spilled a cup of coffee on a map of Maryland, and Gov. Parris N. Glendening jumped up and pointed to the mess and yelled, "That's it!"

Iver Mindel


Slicing through four jurisdictions, Gov. Parris N. Glendening's 3rd Congressional District gives new meaning to the word "contiguous."

Is it any wonder that we feel unrepresented? Is it any wonder that some of us don't vote?

Jim Rose


New city recycling plan isn't very user-friendly

With paper recycling piling up at my home, I consulted Baltimore's new recycling schedule and was surprised to find that paper pickup was still nearly three weeks off, and was scheduled for a day when there is no regular trash collection.

According to the schedule, all residents of Recycling Zone 1 will have five weeks between their last paper recycling pickup and the next.

For the present, all paper at my home is going out with the regular trash. I do not want to have five weeks of paper recycling piling up and then run the risk that I will forget to take it out because the pickup is on a day with no other trash collection.

If the city wants residents to participate in recycling, it must make the program more user-friendly.

Berryl A. Speert


Both churches are Catholic, but neither is progressive

Douglas Birch's article "Vatican, Russian church in battle of faiths" (Feb. 19) was confusing. He kept using the term "Catholic" when referring to the Roman Catholic Church only. Correctly speaking, both churches are "Catholic" -- one according to Roman rite and the other according to Russian Orthodox rite.

And, given time, Vitaly Kulyagin may find that the Roman Church is not all that much more progressive. While the Orthodox Church is stuck in the 15th century, the Roman Church is stuck in about the 17th century.

It still considers divorce a sin (but for the right price you can get an annulment). Technically, it still does not allow priests to marry.

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