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    Letters to the Editors

    Amendment needed for tax reform

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 19, 2003

    Re: An unfair tax burden, editorial, Jan. 12.

    I can't believe that our Legislature will do anything about this unfair sales tax. I suggest an amendment initiative on former Senate President John McKay's reform proposal. If McKay is really serious about his proposal, he should be heading up the drive for such an amendment, which I would support and aid. After it passed and the regressiveness removed, the rate could be raised to pay for the school class size reduction. If this is not done you can be sure the current regressive sales tax will go up.
    -- Robert Pattee, New Port Richey

    Part-time residents hurt

    Re: An unfair tax burden, editorial.

    Florida's heavy dependence on the sales tax is impacted negatively by the thousands of Northerners who are official residents of Florida, i.e. registered to vote here, yet spend several months living "back home, up north" during the summer. Using Florida resources more than half a year, they pay much of their sales tax money on purchases in other states. Furthermore, the reduction in the intangibles tax lets them off the hook for paying a fair share of Florida's taxes.
    -- Gordon Hagberg, St. Petersburg

    Living in the past

    Re: An unfair tax burden.

    You talk like the D.C. Democrats about the tax breaks in Florida going to the wealthiest 1 percent and then again to the wealthiest 20 percent. And you use the strategy again when you talk about the intangibles tax cuts only benefiting those whose savings amount to six or seven figures. Well, I'm in the four- and five-figures savings group and it still helps me and I bet a lot of other similar people.

    You are living in the 1930s and '40s if you think that the average Joe doesn't invest. Quit trying to scare your readers.

    But most of all tell me and the rest of your readers just what is the tax plan as the editorial board of the St. Petersburg Times would want it laid out? Give it to us in detail so that we and the Tallahassee bums can learn from your great wisdom.
    -- Attilio Corbo, Palm Harbor

    Skewed priorities

    Re: Budget savior seen in trust funds and Suite life: arty food, fans, top celebrities, Jan. 13.

    The proximity of these articles on raiding trust funds and on tax-free luxury boxes at Raymond James Stadium exactly defines the priorities of our governor and his pals in Tallahassee: Kill the golden goose of tourism by robbing beach nourishment and tourist development funds to give tax breaks to luxury-suite owners and other political contributors.
    -- Bob McEwen, Indian Shores

    Too speedy speech

    Re: Fast talking, Jan. 12.

    Thanks so much to Deborah Tannen for her enlightening column! As part of the older generation being left behind by TV's "trendy, fast-forward speech patterns," I originally thought it was me -- that I was losing my hearing. At first I would turn up the volume, but that didn't seem to help much. The last episode of The West Wing found me actually squinting and trying to read the lips of the actors! All I got was the gist of the storyline and a lot of frustration!

    Now that I know it's not me, I will probably stop watching The West Wing unless Aaron Sorkin (creator and chief writer of the program) starts listening to his parents when they tell him, "Great show. Tell them to talk slower."
    -- Mary E. Wilson, Clearwater

    Fast isn't smart

    Re: Fast talking.

    And all this time I thought it was me! I wondered when watching The West Wing and other programs, "Do people really talk that fast?" What a snotty idea having actors talk very fast in order to get in more dialogue per page. And then thinking people who talk fast are smart. They're not smart -- they're misunderstood because people don't know what they are saying.

    Gandhi said, "There is more to life than increasing its speed."
    -- Miriam L. Judd, Largo

    Fugitives galore

    Re: Fighting crime, 1 paper at a time.

    According to your laudable article of Jan. 12, the number of individuals with outstanding arrest warrants in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties is 125,000 and 82,000 respectively.

    Pardon me? Is that correct? By this estimation (and I assume the appropriate agencies are fairly exacting in their accounting of such matters), there are in excess of 200,000 wanted fugitives moseying about in our fine communities.

    Given that these two counties are home to approximately 2,000,000 folks these days, that means that one in 10 citizens will be summarily dispatched to the pokey if they so much as come into contact with a police officer! One in 10!

    Think about that the next time you wait in the grocery store check-out line.
    -- Michael F. Swift, New Port Richey

    No age discrimination

    Re: Sun City strives for age zoning, Jan. 15.

    I find it appalling that a group of retirees who think they are too good to interact with the rest of society is campaigning for age discrimination to be written into public law and that they want the taxpayers to fund the enforcement of this nonsense.

    I'm also surprised to find the Hillsborough County Commission swallowing it hook, line and sinker. These "over 55" people are the same ones who would be getting on a bus and going to protest any place in this country were the age limitations reversed and a community wanted to disallow any residents over the age of 55.

    This kind of discrimination, whether supported by the community or not, is discrimination nonetheless and is outright wrong. Would it be okay also if an all-white community wanted to keep out people they considered "undesireable" like Hispanics and black Americans? Public opinion and the law weighed in on that long ago. It's time we stand up against age discrimination, or at least not write it into public law.
    -- Jeffrey R. Glenn, St. Petersburg

    A real integration

    Re: 28 down, 337 to go, by Elijah Gosier, Jan. 14.

    Over the years I have had countless occasions to nod my head in agreement with columns written by Mr. Gosier, and this one was no exception. Too often I hear people, both black and white, suggesting solutions and patches to the problems of maintaining racial equality that only further the separatist mind-sets. The fact is, there is no black history or white history, there is only American history, and the events that have shaped this great country were carried out by people of all races and creeds.

    America will not have truly healed from the ugly blight which was, and is, racism, until we as a people come together not as white, black, Hispanic, Asian, other-Americans, but simply as Americans, recognizing that we come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and that all have played significant roles in attaining the freedoms we cherish. Bravo again, Mr. Gosier, for espousing a real integration, of both people and the history that brought us here.
    -- Chris Jenkins, St. Petersburg

    Worth listening to

    Re: The power of a song, by Gina Vivinetto, Jan. 14.

    After watching Harry Belafonte on Larry King Live and also upon reading the St. Petersburg Times interview with him, I believe that Mr. Belafonte is a man of immense intelligence and compassion who is not afraid to say what should be said. This is someone we should all be listening to. We could learn something invaluable: truth!
    -- Gloria Petrey, St. Petersburg

    A matter of faith

    I believe the American people need to see the war with Iraq as the keystone of President Bush's faith-based initiative. It is not necessary to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction. We must accept, on the basis of faith alone, the president's belief that Iraq is the epicenter of the "evil ones" and continue to support his belief that he was chosen, along with his appointed disciples, to lead us to eternal rapture.

    I understand that there will always be a few, like the Disciple Thomas, who need proof, but I personally see no need for our president to prematurely show his hand.
    -- John H. Mason, Clearwater

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