Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 10, 2007

Republicans sought budget cooperation

The governor constantly says he wants "consensus" with Republicans in the General Assembly. But he and his staff have acted otherwise ("O'Malley faces his first test in office," Oct. 7).

The Republican caucus in the House of Delegates offered a plan to erase the budget deficit without raising taxes.

That plan was ignored, and Republicans were not even invited to the governor's briefing on his final budget proposal.

Unlike his predecessor, Gov. Martin O'Malley did not appoint a single high-profile member of the opposite political party to his Cabinet. And his Cabinet secretaries have fired many of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s appointees.

But the most egregious examples of partisanship seem to come from the governor's press office. Stephen J. Kearney, the governor's communications director, regularly insults Republicans.

When the Republican caucus pulled back its support of a slots plan, Mr. Kearney said, "We certainly anticipated that the Republicans would pull this kind of thing,"

That's wrong, Mr. Kearney.

Republicans made an effort to work with this governor, and they will be happy to work with him when he and his staff show the bipartisan leadership our state deserves.

Joseph C. Boteler III

White Marsh

The writer is a Republican who represents northeastern Baltimore County in the House of Delegates.

Closing loopholes adds to tax fairness

Responding to a tax loophole-closing strategy proposed by the governor, the head of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce asks, "How can a change that might reduce the state's revenue be good?" ("Corporations already pay their fair share in Maryland," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 3).

But if this reform might mean lower taxes for these large multistate corporations, why have the chamber's lobbyists fanned out across the state raising opposition to it?

More to the point, at the same time, one of the chamber's representatives has argued that "businesses that face the prospect of higher taxation under combined reporting would simply shift their jobs and investment to other states" ("Next for O'Malley: Halt `loopholes,'" Sept. 22). So which is it?

Over the last four years, The Sun has written about large companies sheltering money in other states to avoid paying Maryland taxes. Subsequently, the legislature closed some of those loopholes.

Unfortunately, other loopholes remain. But 21 states now have authority to utilize combined tax reporting to prevent the use of such tax dodges.

Blocking the tax avoidance schemes employed by big businesses would not only make all sectors pay their fair share but also lift an unnecessary tax burden from the backs of working and middle-income Marylanders.

Paul G. Pinsky

University Park

The writer is a Democratic state senator.

Slow O'Malley's rush to a special session

The Sun is to be complimented for its editorial "Getting it right" (Oct. 5), which explains the need for caution and the value of more discussions and debates on Gov. Martin O'Malley's long list of proposed tax changes and desire to call a special session of the General Assembly.

The governor's efforts to obtain quick legislative approval of his tax proposals could saddle Marylanders with the burden of his tax maneuvers.

I think it is becoming obvious that Mr. O'Malley's true objective is to take another big step along his political path to greater heights in Washington.

Quinton D. Thompson

Towson

Taxing club fees could boost costs

I would like to applaud the writer of the letter about the epidemic of obesity and how the governor's proposed tax on health club fees could have a detrimental effect on the health of Maryland citizens ("Health club tax could add to obesity," Oct. 6).

The stark reality is that a tax on these fees could cost the taxpayers more in additional health care costs -- because of the health consequences of discouraging health club memberships -- than it raises.

Indeed, to encourage exercise, perhaps the fees for health club memberships should be tax-deductible for all citizens or even be subsidized by the government as a public health and preventive medicine initiative.

Dr. Charles E. McCannon

Darlington

The writer is a fellow at the American College of Preventive Medicine.

Genocide resolution would alienate ally

The House Committee on International Relations is scheduled to vote today on a resolution that would call the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I an act of genocide.

While the resolution would not have the force of law, the timing could not be worse.

Our military, mired in an intractable war in Iraq, relies heavily on military material shipped through Turkey into Iraq.

Turkey is a long-time U.S. ally. But according to a recent Pew research poll, 77 percent of Turks have negative views of the United States because of our policy in Iraq.

Should the full House ultimately pass the resolution, which appears increasingly likely, domestic public opinion is likely to force Turkey's government to take action.

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