Letters To The Editor

November 23, 2007

Tax loopholes still unfair to local firms

The General Assembly did a disservice to Maryland businesses and individual taxpayers when it failed to close some corporate tax loopholes during the special session ("O'Malley's risks not over," Nov. 20).

Over the past two months, 48 businesses signed on to a letter urging decision-makers to close these loopholes and level the playing field for in-state businesses.

The Greater Brunswick Area Chamber of Commerce in Frederick County, for instance, supported "combined reporting" as a way to "restore fairness to business taxation in the state."

Corporate tax loopholes will likely be an even bigger issue in coming years as a result of this special session.

When lawmakers raised the corporate income tax rate by more than 1 percent but failed to close some loopholes, they gave multi-state companies even more incentive to transfer profits out of state and put the little guy at an even greater disadvantage.

I hope the General Assembly will level the playing field for in-state businesses and make the tax code more fair by instituting combined reporting during the regular 2008 session.

Johanna E. Neumann

Baltimore

The writer is a policy advocate for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

State's money grab rips off constituents

Like thieves in the night, the members of the General Assembly foisted on the citizens of "The Free State" the largest money grab in the history of the state ("O'Malley's risks not over," Nov. 20).

With limited public input and many promises made behind closed doors, the leadership of both houses of the Assembly followed the direction of the Pied Piper in the State House and demonstrated a total lack of responsibility and commitment to the electorate.

There was absolutely no need to move this budget legislation through in a three-week session, and the results will be painfully felt by every citizen.

Chuck Marks

Perry Hall

Slots bill a victory for special interests

Anyone who thinks big money didn't out-shout the average citizen during the recent special session isn't paying attention.

According to "Lawmakers send question to November 2008 ballot" (Nov. 18), on Sunday night the General Assembly overwhelmingly rejected several common-sense measures on slots that would have protected citizens' interests.

These measures would have made the bidding for slots licenses more competitive, given local communities a say in prohibiting slots in their areas, and limited political campaign contributions from slots licensees.

The article notes that, in the last four years, pro-gambling and racetrack interests contributed about $1.25 million to our lawmakers and that they have pumped $2.6 million into lobbying at the State House in just the past two years.

Our representatives will solemnly pronounce that there was no conflict of interest here.

However, anyone outside our cushy political circles might see the appearance of a quid pro quo and wonder how the people's interests were served by defeating these measures.

And I, for one, don't think this bill passes the smell test.

When powerful interests prevail, the average taxpaying citizen must pick up the slack (and pull out his or her wallet).

Melvin Barnhart

Baltimore

New tax just pushes the consumers away

Maryland lawmakers have made the wrong decision in deciding to apply the sales tax to computer services ("How will the new tax plan affect you?" Nov. 20).

Most computer services companies are small, and many are run by sole proprietors.

As a result of the seemingly capricious decision to apply sales tax to their services, many customers may decide to use help-desk companies in India instead, or contract with companies from neighboring states to avoid the tax.

Good going, Maryland.

Steve Janofsky

Pikesville

Using icon to sell homes disrespectful

The Sun's article "Bless this house" (Nov. 18) told of the practice of some home sellers who bury a statue of St. Joseph upside-down in the ground in front of their house to help the house sell.

Shame, shame on any Catholic or anyone else who performs such a disrespectful act.

St. Joseph is a person who deserves respect. He was the earthly father of Jesus and the spouse of Mary; he is a patron of the Catholic Church and the protector of families.

In the article, the Rev. Louis Micca, pastoral director of the St. Jude Shrine, stated, "We consider that superstitious practice, and it is not encouraged at all."

However, the article also notes that "St. Joseph statues and real estate kits are hot items at the shrine's gift shop."

It seems to me that these statements are in conflict.

And I would suggest to Reverend Micca that such kits should not be sold at all at the shrine.

As a Catholic, I respect all religions of the world, and I would never do anything that in any way would be disrespectful to their beliefs.

I only ask for the same respect from those of other faiths.

James S. Moss Sr.

Baltimore

Protecting priest may be bad choice

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