Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 30, 2004

Tax increase would damage state's economy

In The Sun's editorial "Decision time in Annapolis" (Sept. 24), the editors again propose higher taxes as the solution to our state budget crunch, adding that "voters will accept a tax increase."

The Sun conveniently overlooks the fact that a heavily Democratic state elected a fiscally conservative Republican governor because we do not want higher taxes.

And what does The Sun propose in three or four years, when our liberal legislature absorbs the additional revenues and once again spends us into a major shortfall - yet another tax increase?

Tax increases seem so simple, but they are not cost-free. To absorb the additional taxes, companies will reduce staff or benefits or relocate to a tax-friendly state, and individuals will spend less, which will hurt local merchants and businesses.

If the tax increase takes the form of a sales tax increase, more residents will drive to sales-tax-free Delaware (as they now do for slots), which will have an impact on Eastern Shore and northern Maryland merchants.

Tax increases make no economic sense - a fact lost on many of our politicians and The Sun's editors.

As citizens, we need to let our politicians know that we want program reductions, not more taxes, and voluntary slots revenue instead of involuntary tax increases.

Don Imwold

Lutherville

Can growth cancel need for tax hike?

I know everyone is entitled to change his or her mind, but The Sun is becoming incongruous.

In a June editorial, The Sun argued against slots by stating that "growth is the answer" to Maryland's revenue shortfall ("Vultures circling," editorial, June 27).

Now in its editorial "Decision time in Annapolis" (Sept. 24), The Sun argues that "improvements in the economy only delay the inevitable crisis" in its call for a tax increase.

What gives here? Maybe retailers and other businesses should cooperate with The Sun by cutting back so as not to delay the inevitable tax increase?

Tom S. Saquella

Annapolis

The writer is president of the Maryland Retailers Association.

Facts belie optimism Bush shows on Iraq

Three articles in Sunday's Sun demonstrate that President Bush is (again) being dishonest about Iraq.

In "Violence dampens prospects for Iraq elections" (Sept. 26), we read that "large swaths of Iraq still remain outside the control of the interim government, major highways are fraught with attackers, and Prime Minister Ayad Allawi - along with the U.S. Embassy and much of the international community - must conduct business in fortified compounds guarded by tanks, blast walls and barbed wire."

In "U.S. airstrikes target Iraqi insurgents" (Sept. 26), we find out that "more than 140 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq. ... At least 26 of them have been killed. Many Iraqis have also been seized."

And in "Virulent hepatitis breaks out in two Iraqi towns" (Sept. 26), we learn that "a virulent form of hepatitis that is especially lethal for pregnant women has broken out in two of Iraq's most troubled districts" and that "a collapse of water and sewage systems during the continuing violence in the country is probably at the root of the outbreak."

In my opinion, Mr. Bush's upbeat assessments of the situation in Iraq constitute a whitewash.

Joanne Heisel

Columbia

Orioles' ownership looking out for No. 1

Isn't it incredible that demands are being made to "allow" a baseball team from a different league to operate more than 40 miles away ("Angelos reveals conditions for a team in D.C.," Sept. 28)?

It seems to me that a financial "guarantee" for a private enterprise is totally self-serving. The Orioles have as much interest in preserving the interests of the city of Baltimore as in peace in the Middle East. This is about the personal interests of the owners of the Orioles, and nothing more.

Let those who spend their money choose - in our free-enterprise system - which league and team to support.

That could hinge on the teams' performance - and maybe that is the concern of the Orioles' owners.

Jack Noppinger

Kingsville

Angelos' arrogance will hurt the Orioles

I have lived in Washington since 1967 and have been a loyal Orioles fan since the mid-1970s. I will still be a fan after we get a team in Washington. I will add the National League to my baseball interests but still journey to Charm City to see the Orioles and still watch and listen to Orioles games on the TV and radio. However, many of my fellow D.C. fans are likely to desert the Orioles. The reason they give is team owner Peter G. Angelos ("Angelos reveals conditions for a team in D.C.," Sept. 28).

Several years ago, many Washingtonians decided to boycott the Orioles, not because of their woeful field performance, inept management or personnel shuffles but because of Mr. Angelos' opposition to baseball in Washington.

Unfortunately for many of those who love the Orioles, the economic damage that is likely to result from a team moving to Washington has been needlessly exacerbated by the arrogant and hostile conduct of Mr. Angelos.

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