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Tax hike wrong way to balance budget

The "Sales tax solution" (Sept. 7) to a hyped budget crisis arising from the phony structural deficit is just another lame justification for fleecing Maryland taxpayers from an administration addicted to profligate spending and gargantuan government.

Maryland families and businesses endeavor to live within their means by adjusting their expenditures so that they do not exceed the available funds.

Only irresponsible politicians reverse the process by first deciding how much of our money they are going to spend and then wringing whatever additional money is needed from taxpayers to cover any shortfall.

The real deficit here, structural or otherwise, is an ethical rather than a fiscal one.

Barry C. Steel


It looks like Gov. Martin O'Malley is going to propose some sort of a tax increase as a solution to the more than $1 billion structural deficit Maryland citizens have been saddled with by former Gov. Parris N. Glendening and our spend-happy legislature.

But I don't see in any proposals that when the shortfall is made up, the tax level will revert to present levels or the tax increase will be automatically repealed.

This is just more of the Democratic Party's policy of tax and spend, tax and spend.

J. Shawn Alcarese


Why not raise tax on cigars, champagne?

In The Sun's article "Cutting deficit with smoke" (Sept. 8), Gov. Martin O'Malley says, "I do think there is the will to raise the tobacco tax," and the article seriously discusses a $1-a-pack tax increase on cigarettes.

But I didn't see anything about a tax increase on pipe tobacco or cigars.

If the tobacco tax increase is intended to boost state revenues and encourage people to quit smoking for health reasons, why not raise taxes on all of the products that cause cancer and many other illnesses?

For that matter, why not set up an additional tax increase on alcohol as well?

Much the same logic can be used to justify a tax increase on alcohol as on cigarettes - i.e., if you increase taxes on liquor, many people will quit drinking, which could keep many kids from drinking, save many lives that would be lost in alcohol-related deaths and save the state billions in health costs.

Or is the state just going after people who use cigarettes?

Do the people who smoke Cohiba cigars and drink $500 bottles of Cristal have enough influence and money that a tax increase on their habits will never happen?

David Gosey


Tax the professionals employed by wealthy

Instead of raising sales, cigarette and gasoline taxes, which impact low-income people disproportionately, why not tax legal and accounting fees ("Sales tax solution," Sept. 7)?

Taxing legal fees on the plaintiffs' side could also cut down on frivolous lawsuits.

But who uses attorneys and accountants? Well-to-do people.

So how far do you think this proposal would get in Annapolis?

Rich Atkins


Make corporations pay their fair share

After reading that the state is considering raising our sales tax, I believe that once again working people and small businesses will be penalized instead of big businesses ("Sales tax solution," Sept. 7).

Before I pay another penny in extra taxes, I would ask our representatives to end corporate welfare and immediately close the loopholes that allow corporate scofflaws to avoid paying their fair tax burden.

Companies need to respect our communities and the public's good will by paying their fair share to support our infrastructure and the services that we all depend upon.

We should not allow corporations to continually pass along their costs to us; we the people are left holding the bag by such irresponsible practices.

Corporate taxes have decreased over the years, while taxes on citizens have increased; let's balance the scales again for everyone's benefit.

Charles Myers


Enough billions wasted in Iraq

We should spend no more money on this war in Iraq. The war is a failure, and we need the money and resources here in the United States ("'Uneven' progress in Iraq," Sept. 11).

We have wasted billions of dollars in Iraq. We need our troops to come home now.

Vanetta Crute

Gwynn Oak

Sun didn't ignore Democrats' disgrace

The writer of the letter "Why give a pass to tainted Democrats?" ((Sept. 6) accuses The Sun of forgetting a list of blunders committed by Democrats in office.

But having been a regular Sun reader for more than 40 years, I can testify that I have read about each of the mentioned affairs in, yes, The Sun.

The real disgrace is that the letter writer implies that The Sun is biased and discriminatory in its reporting, a suggestion that is not only unfair and untrue but also a disgracefully partisan attempt to skew facts after the shameful and silly episode involving the arrest of Sen. Larry E. Craig of Idaho.

That sounds like Republican sour grapes to me.

David Manning


'Deer friends' cause disabling illnesses

Peter Jensen's cutesy editorial notebook about backyard deer was frivolous, uninformed and irresponsible ("Our deer friends," Sept. 8).

Mr. Jensen apparently hasn't suffered from Lyme disease, as I and 20,000 other Americans have this year alone.

It is widely recognized that the suburban deer population in Maryland is growing fast and is out of control.

Regrettably, the increasing size of these tick-infested herds is causing a correspondingly large number of human infections, with serious and sometimes permanently disabling illnesses.

Rather than accepting Mr. Jensen's ridiculous and dangerous suggestion to let "deer frolic carefree," our politicians, wildlife specialists and public health officials should immediately reduce the deer population to an insignificantly small number.

Dr. Morton F. Goldberg


Some local schools the real sweatshops

When I recently traveled with some MBA students in China, many of them were appalled at the work conditions in garment factories (which in fact were comparable to those in factories in the U.S.).

But to find real sweatshops, one need go no farther than some of the local schools of Baltimore and Baltimore County.

The conditions are almost inhuman in the numerous un-air-conditioned and poorly ventilated schools ("School buildings show age," Sept. 1).

Is it not bad enough that we expect teachers to deal with unruly students, absentee parents, an overwhelming curriculum and an unrealistic workload. What other professionals are expected to work in such appallingly hot conditions?

Frederick W. Derrick


The writer is a professor of economics at Loyola College.

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