Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 03, 2007

No reason to rush to special session

Gov. Martin O'Malley has taken on the Herculean task of trying to raise $1.7 billion in revenue to balance the state budget. However, calling a special session will not serve the people of Maryland well ("Time to cut bait in Annapolis," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 30).

Such an important topic deserves time for input, discussion and debate. The citizens have a right to be heard and to have their views given fair consideration.

This is not an emergency. Indeed, we have already waited five years to begin to address the state's structural deficit.

So let's take up the governor's tax plan in the Assembly session in January when there will be time to discuss it fully and the Assembly session won't be an extra expense.

Slots, in particular, are a big issue that must not be rammed down our throats.

They are not a real solution to the state's budget problem - especially if we want to help the poor.

Sarah Ann M. Donnelly

Arnold

What tax hike will O'Malley offer next?

I can hardly wait these days to get my morning paper the see what new surprise our governor has for us in his tax-a-day program ("Time to cut bait in Annapolis," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 30).

There's the 20 percent sales tax increase, higher income tax rates, higher gasoline taxes, tobacco taxes, corporate taxes, the closing of corporate tax "loopholes" and of course the new slots revenue, which will benefit the track owners.

Let's see, has Gov. Martin O'Malley forgotten anything? How about an air tax to be levied on breathing?

To the loyal Democrats who elected Mr. O'Malley, I say: Don't complain. You asked for it.

J. Edward Head

Elkridge

At least slots are one promising idea

Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to address the state's alleged "structural deficit" should surprise no one.

Last year, when most Marylanders voted for Mr. O'Malley for governor, they voted for higher taxes and fees, and now we are going to get them.

However, one idea Mr. O'Malley has come up with sounds promising: legalizing slot machines ("O'Malley betting on slots," Sept. 26).

Slots could generate hundreds of millions a year in revenue and wouldn't cost the taxpayers anything.

What a great idea. I wonder why former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. didn't think of that?

John H. West III

Baltimore

Tax plan must do more to help poor

I am happy to see that the governor is trying to overhaul the state's tax code - that's long overdue ("Time to cut bait in Annapolis," Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 30).

My concern is for the very poor who don't make enough to pay income taxes but will have to deal with the added cost of a sales tax increase and the impact of a higher gas tax on food prices.

The have-nots in this town are suffering, and it's appalling to see nothing being done to ease their plight.

E. W. Stevenson

Baltimore

Greener grass isn't only consideration

Peter Jensen's editorial notebook "Where the taxes aren't" (Sept. 29) was an interesting analysis of taxes in Maryland and in neighboring states.

Although the grass many times seems to be greener elsewhere and isn't, sometimes it really is greener in other places.

If you are a federal retiree and the majority of your retirement income comes from your federal annuity, it does indeed pay to relocate to Pennsylvania because that state does not tax one cent of the annuity.

Many of my peers have long since departed for various towns to the north, not far from the Maryland border.

But, as they say, money isn't everything.

So I choose to remain a resident of the Free State.

Howard K. Ottenstein

Baltimore

The writer is a retired federal employee.

Make MARC service more cycle-friendly

I look forward to the proposed improvements to the MARC system, although I may not live long enough to see them all ("MARC aims to triple service," Sept. 24).

Enhancement and expansion of this system into a robust transit system is a fiscally and environmentally responsible approach to the area's future transportation needs.

I hope all this investment will include increased accommodation for bicycles, not only at the stations but also on MARC trains.

Bicycles are a very effective multiplier of the area any transit system can serve. But MARC is one of the very few commuter rail systems in the country that do not allow bicycles on the trains.

Maryland transit systems for the most part have good bicycle-transit synergy, with liberal bike accommodation rules on the Washington and Baltimore Metro subway systems, Baltimore's light rail and the buses of the Washington metropolitan area and many counties and municipalities.

The glaring exceptions are Baltimore's buses and the MARC trains.

I hope this investment in transportation infrastructure will correct these deficiencies.

Greg Hinchliffe

Baltimore

The writer is the chairman of the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee.

`Minority' issues affect all of us

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