Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 16, 2003

Don't clean up budget mess by raising taxes

In reading Steve Hill's article "Why Maryland should raise taxes" (Opinion

Commentary, March 13), it was obvious why the author has been successful in the not-for-profit sector where every penny earned must be spent.

Never mind balancing the budget - Mr. Hill is already spending the extra money he sees coming to the state through his proposed tax increases.

It is these "tax-and-spend" policies that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has been saddled with as Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend ride off into the sunset.

Mr. Hill also does not consider the economic impact reduced spending would have on the already troubled economy. The more taxpayers pay to the government, the less we spend in the local economy. Increased taxes would only prolong the nasty downward spiral we are all experiencing.

If Mr. Hill wants to pay more taxes, I'm sure the governor and comptroller would be glad to take any extra he'd like to give.

Feel free to write a check for a little more, or better yet, send your refund back to the state with a note saying, "I didn't think I was paying enough and wanted to give a little more."

Andrew Droney

Baltimore

While reading Steve Hill's article ("Why Maryland should raise taxes," Opinion Commentary, March 13) I found it nothing less than incredible that he believes "we pay little" in taxes.

When I file my business taxes I don't feel as if I'm "paying little." When I file my business personal property taxes, I don't feel as if I'm "paying little." When I see my wife's paycheck, I don't feel as if I'm "paying little." I feel as if I'm being bled dry by a state that wastes my money.

Perhaps Mr. Hill or anyone else who feels he or she is not paying enough should voluntarily contribute as much as he or she wishes in additional taxes. I'm sure the state would take it.

As for me, I'll choose to do something more productive with my money than give it to a government that demonstrates time and again its recklessness with the great sums it already takes.

Rick Proctor

Forest Hill

State fails to provide bang for the buck

Steve Hill recommends tax increases to balance Maryland's budget and supports the recommendation by discussing the "output" side of state government ("Why Maryland should raise taxes," Opinion

Commentary, March 13).

He compares Maryland to other states in terms of the per-capita number of state and local employees (we rank 41st). He then recites several examples of inadequate state and local services to citizens.

Mr. Hill neglects the "input" side of state and local government. One would expect, if Mr. Hill's argument is sound, to find that Maryland's per-capita tax burden is also low compared with most other states.

That is not the case. Maryland's 2000 per-capita state and local tax revenues rank 15th in the nation, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators. Maryland has more per-capita tax revenue than 70 percent of other states, yet delivers, in terms of state and local employees, more services per capita than only 18 percent of states.

This 52 percent gap indicates ample opportunity to balance the state budget without any increase in taxes of any kind.

Instead, Marylanders face the prospect of higher taxes via slot machines and/or increases in property and business taxes.

Curtis L. Harris

Woodbine

Smart family showed little common sense

If my child had been lost or kidnapped and then found, I would be as happy as the Smart family is in having their daughter returned to their family ("`Miracles do exist'; Elizabeth Smart found alive, returned to her family," March 13).

Obviously, they are a very trusting family to invite homeless people to their house so those people can earn a few dollars. Yet, at the same time, their charitable actions make a mockery of their last name. Where is their common sense about protecting what is most valuable to them - not their property, but their children?

The Smarts would do better to quit the television interviews, stop their attacks on the Amber Alert legislation and stay home to tend to their family.

Phil Retchless

Baltimore

Protect the rights of state's nonsmokers

I strongly support the state's Clean Indoor Air Act of 2003, which would ban smoking in all public places ("Panel hears proposal to extend ban on smoking," Feb. 28).

Businesses that claim they would lose customers are incorrect - there is evidence to the contrary. Further, I stand as proof: I would actually patronize more restaurants, because I currently don't go to places where smoking is allowed.

Cigarette smoke - both direct and secondhand - is a known carcinogen. In a free society, smokers are free to give themselves all the cancer they want; however, they should not be free to endanger the health of me or my children.

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