Expansion of credit offsets tax increases
Sun readers are getting a good overview of Gov. Martin O'Malley's emerging proposals for revenue enhancements thanks to the careful work of reporters Andrew A. Green and James Drew ("O'Malley details cut in income tax," Sept. 20). However, one key element of the governor's plan - an increase in the state's refundable earned income credit - deserves more attention.
This piece of the plan is critical to the governor's goal of tax fairness because increasing the state's earned income credit will help offset the impact of regressive proposed tax increases, such as the 1-cent increase in sales tax, which weighs disproportionately on low-income families.
The earned income credit has been supported over the past three decades by leaders of both major political parties as a way to reward work and increase the income of low-wage households struggling to make ends meet.
Mr. O'Malley promised to address the state's shortfall while keeping the needs of the most vulnerable in mind.
His proposal to expand the state's earned income credit shows that he's serious about that commitment.
Clinton Macsherry Kathleen Gardiner Melissa Broome Baltimore
The writers are, respectively, the director of public policy for the Maryland Committee for Children, a member of the Maryland Alliance for the Poor and the senior policy advocate for the Job Opportunities Task Force.
Public about to pay for excess spending
Here we go again - even with billions of dollars coming into the state of Maryland's treasury each year, somehow this just isn't enough ("Public asks who'll pay," Sept. 23).
The politicians in Annapolis have managed to spend us into a significant deficit. So now many of them want to raise our taxes and the fees we pay for services such as titling our cars.
All those who voted for the current gang in Annapolis, open up your wallets: It is time to pay the piper.
O'Malley must learn to live within means
I swear to heaven, it was as predictable as clockwork: Elect a Democrat as governor and he'll get his hands in your pockets within a year. Gov. Martin O'Malley is no different, and in fact takes this dynamic to a new height ("Public asks who'll pay," Sept. 23).
Let me be clear: I do not support new taxes of any kind. And even though I'm a nonsmoker, I don't think it's fair to raise the tobacco tax.
Our other elected representatives need to educate Mr. O'Malley on fiscal governance - and teach him that he needs to live within the means of the state's current revenues.
Tobacco tax hike is fairest proposal
As a fiscal conservative, I strongly oppose tax increases in general, particularly when the government has an opportunity to streamline inefficient and ineffective government bureaucracies before raising taxes - as is clearly the case in Maryland ("Rise in sales tax is sought," Sept. 21).
However, the one tax proposal from Gov. Martin O'Malley I have no problem with is the $1-a-pack increase in the cigarette tax, particularly if the money goes to fund health care and help reduce smoking.
Let's face it, smokers often rely on government services, particularly government-sponsored health care programs. Their habits also contribute to health and environmental problems that other citizens ultimately have to pay for.
The cigarette tax increase is simply the most fair tax, if not the only fair tax, in Mr. O'Malley's plans.
Keeler's successor can act to save kids
Thank you for the informative article about Cardinal William H. Keeler's future ("Change, challenges for Keeler," Sept. 23).
Although Cardinal Keeler did publish a list of accused pedophile priests in 2002, he also opposed bills that would have helped protect children from sexual predators and that would have made it easier for people who commit child abuse to be held accountable in civil court.
I hope his successor, Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, will see the wisdom of enacting tougher laws to protect children from this scourge.
The writer is the founder of the Greater Baltimore Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests.
Why must embassy hire private guards?
Here is a key aspect of the Blackwater USA story that everyone seems to have missed: If the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad feels insecure enough, even with the presence of so much of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps in the Baghdad area, that its personnel must rely on a private security firm for their protection, doesn't that really say it all about the overall futility of the American "mission unaccomplished" in Iraq ("Iraqi premier seeks Blackwater's ouster," Sept. 20)? I believe that it does.
Here's a possible solution: Bring home our troops and leave just the embassy in Iraq and as many additional Blackwater security people as the company will send over. Then, for good measure, tell the current Iraqi government to go pound sand.
Area roads unsafe for biking, walking