April 19, 2009

O'Malley impedes business climate

Reflecting on the need to preserve government programs despite budget cuts, Gov. Martin O'Malley argued that "if you do away with the things that made you a strong state in bad times, you're not going to be strong after the rebound" ("ID measure driven home," April 14).

I believe that Mr. O'Malley's ideas of what makes Maryland a strong state are very different from those held by the people who are losing their jobs.

During Mr. O'Malley's tenure, and as a result of his efforts, our state has fallen in the nonpartisan Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate rankings from a respectable 28th in the nation to 45th.

We have faced two budget crises, the first of which was resolved in a lobbyist-heavy special session, the second by using federal stimulus aid in a way that clearly foretells a future shortfall.

All the while, Marylanders have had to watch as their money is wasted on pet projects ("Patronage endures, even in hard times," March 22) and wait for Big Brother to set up speed cameras across the state to establish, in effect, an additional tax on drivers.

All this reminds me of the insurance company's commercials with the stack of money - except we may want to change the slogan to, "This is the money you could have saved by voting Republican."

Tom Coale, Ellicott City

'Recycled' pets are great addition

The Obamas' new dog has certainly gotten a lot of attention ("New addition to first family," April 13).

Although it is somewhat disappointing that the first family did not go to an animal shelter or pet rescue group, their dog Bo was in another home previously, so he is considered a "rehomed" dog.

This is a new term in animal welfare, but it is not a new concept. In fact, most people acquire their pets from friends or family members.

If a pet can go from home to home, instead of ending up in a shelter, it is better for everyone. As proud as we are of our adoption center, where there is no time limit for a pet's stay, it can be stressful for a dog or cat there to experience so many new sights, sounds and scents that aren't a home environment.

Perhaps the Obamas' new dog is an opportunity to show that a "recycled" pet can be a great addition to a family.

Aileen Gabbey, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland SPCA.

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