State budget hurts workers and taxpayers The General...


April 11, 2002

State budget hurts workers and taxpayers

The General Assembly has passed a ridiculous budget that, in the face of a wobbly economy, grants legislators and various elected officials handsome pay raises, depletes "rainy day" accounts, funds initiatives favored by a departing governor, reduces revenues by cutting taxes and skirts the requirement for a balanced budget ("Md. legislators agree on budget of $21.6 billion," April 4).

As a result, 83,000 state employees will not receive a 2 percent "cost of living" raise (that would not have kept pace with inflation). The Assembly is instead offering an apology disguised as a "bonus" averaging $300 per employee.

The budget deficit promised for next year will, no doubt, be addressed at the expense of state employees by next year's edition of the Assembly.

What is more embarrassing: the actions of the elected officials in passing such a budget, or the fact that state employees will probably continue to vote for them?

Richard S. Bernhardt

Ellicott City

I am totally disgusted at the recent General Assembly session. What bothers me most is that the state's highest-paid public officials received a hefty raise yet middle-class citizens now will have to pay more in cigarette taxes and more for community college tuition, and the state workers will not receive a raise this year .

The "good old boys" have again looked after their own interests, and the taxpayers again pay through the nose.

I am sick of the present backroom politics and willing to take a chance on new representation. Anything is better than what we have now.

Carole Wiseman

Cub Hill

Let the parents pay higher taxes

Why should I, as a smoker, pay more taxes for cigarettes for schools that do not work ("Finding funds for education is next hurdle," April 8)?

If the schools need money, let students' parents pay a little more in taxes to the state.

Arthur Everest


Sterner measures to fight the drought

When he proclaimed a drought emergency in Central Maryland, Gov. Parris N. Glendening was correct to issue mandatory water restrictions. However, the governor failed to go far enough: A ban on refilling residential and public swimming pools was conspicuously absent from his order ("Governor slows flow of Central Md. water," April 6).

Backyard in-ground pools typically require at least 40,000 gallons of water, and public pools take significantly more. When you consider the hundreds upon hundreds of such pools in the area, that adds up to a lot of water drawn from already parched reservoirs.

The key word in "drought emergency" is "emergency." As a one-time pool owner myself, I enjoyed having a pool and used it frequently. However, I believe having the ability to wash my clothes, take a shower and flush a toilet once in a while far outweigh the luxury of a swimming pool.

It's a matter of priorities. And there's no reason to believe the drought will end soon.

Stephen Charing


Rep. Ehrlich is voice of reason on guns

The gun control lobby keeps repeating the same mantra hoping that Marylanders will actually start to believe it. I will give credit to them: Their efforts have resulted in our state becoming among the most violent in the union and moving well into the fringe of failed attempts at crime control through gun control.

Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich is a welcome voice of reason in this wasteland of criminal-friendly statutes ("Mr. Ehrlich runs for governor," editorial, March 26).

If the state's voters actually believe the gun-control lobby's distortions cloaked as moderation, truth will be their next victim.

Rick Burk


Felons don't deserve restored voting right

I do not believe violent offenders should have their voting privilege restored ("Votes for Md. felons called a race issue," March 29). We should educate our children to know that if they choose a life of crime, this is just one of the many privileges or rights that they will lose.

This is not a racial issue. Black politicians want the felons' votes restored because they feel it's a vote they can count on, period.

Shame on them for not making more effort to protect the rights of the victims these criminals attacked or killed.

Michael Harper


Why send Powell to talk to terrorists?

After the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush emphasized that you cannot negotiate with terrorists.

So why is he suddenly sending Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Mideast to do just that?

Robert S. Maslin


BSO gives volunteers the cold shoulder

I just attended the final concert of the full Baltimore Symphony Chorus, and I am more perplexed than ever about the decision of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's management to disband this outstanding group.

How can the BSO afford to lose such experience and skill? The decision to disband the chorus raises serious questions about the competence of the BSO management, questions that should be of deep concern to BSO audiences.

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