Letters To The Editor


May 02, 2004

Tuition cap bill would worsen budget shortfall

C. Fraser Smith's column "When good policy meets good politics" (Opinion

Commentary, April 25) is a perfect example of the spend-first mindset that has the state on the verge of a multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

Mr. Smith's analysis of the legislation that would impose a 10 percent surcharge on the corporate income tax failed to address the legislation's major flaw: The corporate tax surcharge the legislation imposes would not generate enough revenue to pay for the spending increases and tuition cap the legislation mandates.

Over the last several years, state spending has grown faster than tax revenues. Without strong action, this gap between expenditures and revenues is projected to continue to widen each year. Enactment of this legislation would add significantly to the state's structural deficit, without providing any long-term solution to the budget shortfall or the needs of higher education.

The goal of this legislation is a noble one, but the devil is in the details. By fiscal year 2007, this legislation would increase the state's higher education expenses by more than $100 million, and no source of revenue to offset this expense is identified beyond that year.

Maryland's world-class higher-education system is critical to its economy and competitive posture. The university system deserves to be funded at predictable and sustainable levels.

Such funding levels, however, will be impossible to achieve until the state solves its budget problem.

The Maryland Chamber of Commerce is deeply concerned that the structural imbalance in state revenues and expenditures will impair vital state services, create undue pressure for higher taxes and threaten the state's fiscal integrity and AAA bond rating.

Fiscal responsibility is simple, though not always politically expedient. Don't spend more money than you take in. Fiscally irresponsible spending bills must be rejected, and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce urges Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to veto this one.

Kathy Snyder


The writer is president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

Believers retain right to dissent

What makes right-wing conservatives appear so immature and bullying is their need to frame every issue in black and white ("Kerry's Catholic problem," Opinion

Commentary, April 28).

Either you are Cal Thomas' kind of Catholic, and therefore must set aside maturity, individuality and a thinking adult mind by subscribing to any and all pronouncements from the Vatican, or you cannot be Catholic.

This attempt to force others to submit and genuflect to authority figures, including secular ones such as the U.S. president, diminishes democratic values and principles.

People have a fundamental right to think for themselves on religious issues. Political leaders are charged with administering laws agreed to by the rest of us.

In a democracy, we don't elect people to be emperors or popes.

Shari B. Zaret


Why do they care if abortion is rare?

There is something about abortion.

It seems de rigueur for every candidate who favors abortion rights (and Sen. John Kerry is just the latest of them) to spout the required mantra that abortion should be "legal, safe and rare."

But, as Cal Thomas asks, if abortion is simply a medical procedure, why should it be rare ("Kerry's Catholic problem," Opinion

Commentary, April 28)?

Shouldn't pro-choice politicians also call for vasectomies and tubal ligations to be similarly rare?

Dave Reich

Perry Hall

Column overlooks Md. farming heritage

I just read Kevin Cowherd's column on the new license plates ("For new bay-theme tags, he's racing off to the MVA," April 26), and, while I agree the new plate is handsome, I was appalled by this remark: "Since when is Maryland known for farming? Did we suddenly turn into Iowa or something?"

Apparently, Mr. Cowherd has never ventured out of the city of Baltimore, much less crossed the Bay Bridge.

If he had, he would know that Maryland has not only a rich farming heritage but also some of the richest farmland in the nation.

Take a drive, Mr. Cowherd.

Jane H. Scott


Ehrlich is doing something right

I wonder how Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. got where he is today if he has been correct only "once in a while," as The Sun's editorial "Doing the right thing" (April 28) suggested.

Marie Mullen


Help Iraqis find jobs rebuilding the nation

Perhaps the withdrawal of some of the "rebuilders" of Iraq may provide the impetus for what should have been the plan from the beginning: Provide jobs for the many potential workers in Iraq, who for the past year have had little to look forward to in the way of worthwhile employment ("2 U.S. contractors cut operations in Iraq," April 23).

The arrogance and hubris of this administration, which has sent its own best buddies to Iraq to rebuild the infrastructure our attacks have destroyed, is almost unbelievable.

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