Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 22, 2003

It's spending that has caused state's red ink

The more I listen to state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, the more convinced I become that old dogs can never be taught new tricks ("Leaders to push Ehrlich on taxes," Oct. 18). These folks must really be living in a political vacuum. There is a new sheriff in town, and because of the nature of the Maryland Constitution, Republicans are, de facto, the party in power.

And Maryland is in the fiscal mess that it is in because of the Democrats' lack of budgetary restraint.

The American Enterprise Institute has revealed some enlightening facts about the detrimental impact of tax increases in state budgets. Its data show that in the states with the biggest deficits (all of which are controlled by the Democratic Party), tax revenues increased at the dramatic rate of about 5 percent per year over the last decade. Yet despite all that revenue growth, enormous deficits were created.

In contrast, the 10 states that are the most fiscally sound had revenue growth of 1.5 percent per year over the previous 10 years. Why were these states so fiscally sound? All of them kept taxes in check and, consequently, controlled spending.

For Mr. Miller and Mr. Busch to suggest that a tax package must be passed for the good of the state is arrogant and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the kind of fiscal policy that enables real economic growth and higher standards of living.

It is time for Maryland to show some deference to the taxpayers and have the courage to do the right thing.

Carl LaVerghetta

Ellicott City

Tax hike would hurt families and seniors

Kudos to the Democratic Party - the party of the working class and poor, except when it comes to raising taxes. Then the Democrats are willing to lessen the weight of all that heavy change in our pockets. And now, to compensate for their incompetence during the past eight years, state Democratic leaders want to raise the sales tax and gasoline tax ("Leaders to push Ehrlich on taxes," Oct. 18).

This would hurt elderly people living on a fixed income, working parents trying to keep a roof over their heads and raise their families, and teen-agers who work part-time for spending money.

Although I don't believe the wealthy should be punished for having money, I don't believe those of us who can least afford it should be punished for the excessive spending in Annapolis.

My suggestion would be for the General Assembly to start by taking a 10 percent pay cut and for state employees to take a 2 percent pay cut or forgo some benefit or perk.

I hope the governor does not wimp out and allow the proposed tax increases to pass.

Vivian Vann

Glen Burnie

The voters backed control of spending

After the state legislature gave itself a raise, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch have decided the citizens of Maryland need a tax increase ("Leaders to push Ehrlich on taxes," Oct. 18).

Mr. Miller also states that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. should "listen to the people and do what's right" and raise taxes. But the people spoke in the last gubernatorial election, and they elected a Republican whose main platform was "no new taxes" over a tax-and-spend Democrat.

The citizens want a government that will live within its means, not more taxes.

Kurt S. Willem

Hydes

Council's nepotism tolerated for too long

If it weren't so serious, it could be very amusing. I'm referring to The Sun's front-page article "Council president to dismiss her sister" (Oct. 18).

When politicians are entrusted with taxpayers' money, there are certain fairly obvious no-nos. And it seems ludicrous that some members of the Baltimore City Council are expressing surprise that accepting gratuities or creating jobs for family members is unacceptable behavior.

It is regrettable this type of practice has been condoned in the past. It must stop.

Mark E. Romanoff

Catonsville

Elected officials set a bad example

Why is it that our elected officials feel they are entitled to perks that no one else has access to ("U.S. attorney subpoenas City Council," Oct. 17)? Abuse of their positions is the only answer I can fathom.

And the next time I hear politicians rail about how today's youths don't have enough positive role models, I want them to look at themselves. I say that they themselves do not provide that positive image when they skirt the law and use any excuse to cover their actions.

Maybe they should walk the walk rather than talk the talk.

A. Wayne Hicks

Baltimore

Botswana shows how Africa can fight AIDS

Reporter John Murphy's article "South Africa struggles to build AIDS program" (Oct. 14) was right on target, as was his reference to Botswana's more progressive program.

Botswana has worked closely with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Merck Co. to develop Africa's most successful anti-retroviral program.

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