Chamber fights for businesses big and small
Jay Hancock's column "Md. balances its books on the back of small business" (July 6) twists and omits facts to support the ridiculous assumption that the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. turned their backs on small business during last year's Assembly session.
Mr. Hancock opines that the Maryland chamber signed off on the corporate filing fee increase while fighting bills that would have reversed what he refers to as "big-company gravy." This is a complete mischaracterization of the chamber's advocacy efforts.
Without our advocacy efforts, the filing fee increase would have been much higher. In fact, legislation passed by the House of Delegates would have increased filing fees to a graduated scale of $400 to $20,000 annually. The chamber supported a more reasonable increase because it was the lesser of two evils.
The corporate tax bill that the chamber so vehemently opposed would have had a negative impact on businesses of all sizes:
The three-year, 10 percent corporate income tax surcharge would have impacted all Maryland corporations.
The 2 percent HMO premium tax would have been especially burdensome to small businesses struggling to provide health care benefits to employees at a time when they are already seeing annual double-digit premium increases.
The "throwback" provision, which sought to tax out-of-state sales that are not already taxed in other states, would have had a disproportionately negative impact on small businesses.
Thankfully, at the urging of businesses large and small, Mr. Ehrlich vetoed this anti-business legislation.
The Maryland chamber promotes the interests of businesses of all sizes throughout the state. Our advocacy efforts are member-driven and reflect the fact that 70 percent of our members are small businesses.
Kathleen T. Snyder
The writer is president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.
Bush policy disaster on the morning after
The Sun's editorial "Now what?" (July 9) is on point. What American could not love a president who was willing to take on a despot such as Saddam Hussein while cutting taxes? But, as any party-goer knows, reality rears its ugly head on the morning after.
Having "conquered" Iraq, many of our fighting forces are now there indefinitely. American blood will be shed and bills will pile up for years to come.
Many Americans cheered President Bush's tax-cutting. As the morning after settles in, many of Mr. Bush's middle-class supporters will find that their hero has betrayed them by destroying the future fiscal health of this country to the detriment of their children and grandchildren.
It's time for Americans to wake up. Reversing Mr. Bush's disastrous policies must begin now if there is to be any hope for the future.
Graduation testing is wrong and unfair
Marilyn D. Maultsby, the state school board president, seems to be saying that the only thing standing between Maryland students and high-stakes, do-or-die graduation testing is the materialization of Thornton dollars ("Pass or fail," editorial, July 6).
This puts parents in an untenable position - if we champion full funding for our schools we may well be gambling our children's futures on a testing practice that education experts know to be unsound and counterproductive.
With or without full Thornton funding, high-stakes graduation testing is just plain dangerous, unfair and wrong for Maryland.
The writer is the coordinator of Marylanders Against High Stakes Testing.
Push for excellence in all city schools
Instead of making some schools attractive for students and parents ("Few city families accept transfers to better schools," July 10), the sensible solution is to create excellence in all schools.
Blame the governor for tuition hikes
Several writers have criticized the University System of Maryland's regents for instituting double-digit tuition increases ("Tuition hike will kill the dreams of many," letters, July 9). This strikes me as like denouncing a ship's captain for ordering his crew into the sea in lifeboats while ignoring the U-boat captain who torpedoed the ship.
Let's at least be clear about the real cause of these tuition hikes. They are not the regents' tuition hikes. They are Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s tuition hikes.
Donald N. Langenberg
The writer is a former chancellor of the University System of Maryland.
Releasing terrorists isn't path to peace
The Sun's article "Israel agrees to free jailed Palestinians" (July 7) suggests that a release of prisoners is part of a U.S.-backed "road map" for peace. But this has nothing to do with peace. It's political hypocrisy, a big mistake and not the way to fight our war against terrorism.
These prisoners think they can get off the hook by claiming they were freedom fighters. How can our leaders buy this?