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Letters to the Editors

Lawmakers seem to find fee or tax for everything

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 7, 2003

Editor: It has always been my understanding that when you plan to make additions or improvements to your property that a permit was required. I find no problem with that. It is logical. My hot water heater went on the blink and was leaking water. I called for service at a few businesses looking for the best price. I was astounded to find that to have a hot water heater replaced, it required a county permit of $50.

This is not enhancing the value of my home: It is replacing an appliance that went on the fritz. If I buy a new refrigerator, does the county think I need a permit? If I buy a new stove, does this require a permit? Let's get real. I read all these stories about the increased costs of running our local government and have a real problem with their mathematics.

All of the new homes and so forth that are being built have all kinds of fees attached to them that are imposed on the builders. The real estate on which they are being built was farmland taxed at a very low level. Now, they are going to reap big bucks because they have homes on them.

I don't agree with this growth because of the impact on our natural resources such as water, but the county just can't be losing money. They are on a roll and must find new ways of spending this money. They seem to be doing a pretty good job at that. But their appetite has still not been satisfied. Let's add a penny tax and classify it as an improvement to education. Sorry, I don't buy it.

What happened to all the money that folks are spending day by day on scratchoffs, Cash 3, Play 4, Fantasy 5 and Florida Lotto?

It is time to grow up and be realistic. We don't have to find ways to tax and harass the general public with increased costs. There are a lot of easier ways.
-- Howard R. O'Neill
New Port Richey

Once a tax is approved, it won't go away

Re: Out on a limb in support of raising taxes for schools, Dec. 27 Jan Glidewell column

Editor: Taxpayers need to think twice about approving a 16.7 percent increase in the sales tax for schools. Remember, any tax increase you approve will be forever.

In 1992, in Ulster County, N.Y., where I reside, IBM closed a plant and laid off more than 7,000 employees. The county had a shortfall of $8-million and asked to have the sales tax increased from 3 percent to 3.75 percent. New York state approved it for two years. In the first year, the deficit was wiped out and a surplus attained. The county liked the extra money and asked it to be continued for eight years more. In 2002, with the shortfall from Sept. 11, they asked and got approval for a 0.25 percentage point increase to 4 percent. So from now on the sales tax in Ulster will be 4 percent New York state and 4 percent Ulster County. Eight percent forever.

Glidewell states that the Pasco schools have 25 psychologists. Why so many? How many schools have two or more assistant principals? Are the Pasco schools top heavy with management personnel? Could it operate for less? In the future, there will be increased revenues as assesments are increased. For us, it was 17 percent in 2002.
-- Ralph Grothkopp, Port Richey

GOP Chairman Bunting a community volunteer

Re: Pasco's Republican Party lurches far to the right, Jan. 3 letter

Editor: I find it ironic that letter writer Arthur Hayhoe, Pasco's antigun and antisport utility vehicle lobbyist, would criticize Bill Bunting, the newly elected chairman of the Pasco Republican Party for his work in our community.

While Hayhoe types his letters filled with half-truths and historical inaccuracies, Bunting is out doing various volunteer work to make Pasco County a better place for all of us to live.

It is not unusual to read in the paper that Bill Bunting and his wife, Ann, are volunteering their time to raise money for youth programs and scholarships as well as to organize political forums and debates on various issues.

Just last week, the Dec. 28 Times ran an interesting story on a gun safety program for children ages 8-18 that was organized by Bill Bunting, the Dade City Police Department and others.

You may agree or disagree with the Republican Party on some of the issues and endorsed candidates, but most would readily agree that Bunting is an active member of our community and a fine choice for the chairmanship of Pasco's Republican Party.
-- Eric Stallworth, Holiday

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