The Baltimore Sun

Reforms will make tax code more fair

Kudos to state Sens. Lisa Gladden and Paul G. Pinsky for championing combined tax reporting in an effort to make Maryland's tax code more fair ("Make corporations pay fair share," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 30).

No one should be able to game the system. Unfortunately, Maryland's current tax code allows multistate corporations to shift their profits out of state, leaving in-state businesses and individuals to foot the bill for transportation, education and public safety.

Businesses should thrive based on their efficiency and innovation, not creative tax accounting and tax avoidance.

Combined reporting requires companies with subsidiaries and affiliates to file taxes in a single combined report and then pay taxes based upon the whole group's in-state business activity.

This simple rule change would remove a host of corporate tax loopholes at one time. More than 50 percent of the U.S. economy is already covered by laws requiring combined tax reporting.

I urge Gov. Martin O'Malley and the state's legislative leadership to make sure multistate corporations pay their fair share in Maryland taxes by passing rules requiring combined reporting this year.

Johanna Neumann


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

Shameful to allow city shelter to close

Shame on the United Way for ending its financial support for the downtown YWCA's women's and children's shelter ("YWCA to shut shelter in city," Sept. 2)

According to The Sun, the United Way's new policy for giving to nonprofit groups requires aid recipients to "show proof that their programs were having an impact."

But any reasonable person would see as proof of impact the fact that the shelter is serving 90 women and children with only 73 beds.

If the United Way wants to see proof of impact from its new policy, it should just check under the bridges and tunnels downtown in the future.

City and state officials should also hang their heads for cutting funds for city shelters.

It's no surprise that the current federal regime would cut funds for the homeless. We know where its interests lie, and it's not with the little guy.

But the city and state should know better; these governments are closer to the ground.

Both Mayor Sheila Dixon and Gov. Martin O'Malley purport to support the lower and middle classes.

Their mandate is to give appropriate attention to all strata of their constituencies.

It's time for the mayor and the governor to do so.

S. A. Kalinich


Prayer can't heal all that ails city

I'm respectful of the prayer vigil led by Sisters Saving the City and of the good intentions of those who participated ("Vigil meant to save a city," Sept. 4). Yet I can't help but feel that there are hundreds of actions a more functional community would do better to prioritize.

How about making certain that the community's children are where they should be when they should be? Or helping youngsters who need schooling or a job?

Or keeping one's neighborhood clean? Or cooperating with police to identify neighborhood thugs?

These are the kinds of things that really need to be done to improve violent city communities.

Jeff M. Schumer


Craig can't weasel out of resignation

Sen. Larry E. Craig was outed all right - not by his behavior in a Minnesota bathroom but by the phone message he left by mistake on a wrong number and the appallingly manipulative attempt he is mounting to try to weasel out of what most Americans took to be a commitment to resign ("Craig begins bid to keep Senate seat," Sept. 6).

The fact that he thinks he can renege on the commitment because he used the phrase "intends to resign" in a speech last weekend tells us even more about the character of the man than his arrest did.

Charles Beckman


Embrace moderate version of Islam

The tragic irony of the persecution of the Ahmadiyya community is that its members represent the moderate version of Islam very well ("Muslim sect causes stir in Walkersville," Aug. 30).

In the face of brutal persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, members of the Ahmadiyya community advocate universal human rights, tolerance and deliberation. They have condemned militant manifestations of Islam in vociferous terms.

The Ahmadiyya community has set up schools, hospitals and welfare programs. Members of the community have also built interreligious coalitions against affronts to basic civil and religious liberties.

It is my sincere hope that Walkersville's residents will embrace progressive Muslim minorities such as the Ahmadiyya community.

This is the only way that the commonalities between the West and Islam can be preserved in the face of the presence of a militant perversion of Islam.

Amjad M. Khan

Los Angeles

The writer is a member of the Ahmadiyya community and an attorney who has represented members of the group in immigration cases.

Column just bashes GOP again and again

Thomas F. Schaller's column "'Moral values' party stumbles again" (Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 5) should have been titled "Schaller demonizes GOP again."

Mr. Schaller is relentless in his anti-Republican, anti-conservative campaign in The Sun.

One can only wonder what he teaches his students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Richard Seymour


Acting to ensure access to dental care

State Health Secretary John M. Colmers appointed the Dental Action Committee in early June and charged us with developing realistic recommendations to improve access to oral health services to Maryland's most vulnerable citizens ("Panel urges $40 million for dental care," Aug. 30).

It is clear that in a society in which 80 percent of the tooth decay is found in 25 percent of the population, in which dental unreadiness significantly impacts our ability to recruit military personnel, and in which a Prince George's County 12-year-old lost his life in February as a result of complications from a dental infections, it is time to act to correct inequities and barriers to dental care.

The fact that we have 20 million children without dental insurance in this country is simply unacceptable.

The Dental Action Committee is helping to put in place a mechanism that will ensure that no child in our state will be unable to concentrate in school or have a sleepless night or needlessly die because of dental pain, infection or lack of access to dental care.

Leslie E. Grant

Glen Arm

The writer is a member of the Maryland Dental Action Committee and a former president of the National Dental Association.

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