Today's Letters: Time for state to use huge tax base

Published May 2, 2007

I am one of those so-called Northerners who moved to Florida for a better life, and it is better here. If the politicians don't wake up, they are going to make Florida a welfare state. We can no longer afford the old system.

The homestead exemption was a good idea in its time. It lured people to Florida when we needed them. That is no longer necessary. But we are still reliant on tourist dollars. You can't raise sales taxes so high that tourists won't come.

I pay what is considered high taxes here in Florida, over $3, 000, but that is less than half of what I paid up North and I'm still delighted. The only part of the old system that should be kept is the Save Our Homes program. That forces our leaders to curb their spending desires and work within our means.

We have too many people who pay no taxes or very low taxes while the rest of us keep the state and counties afloat. It is time for tax reform, not increased homestead, which really helps no one. What makes the politicians think that people who pay no taxes don't use our government services? They do.

We can no longer afford to give any free rides; everybody must pay a fair share of taxes. If we did that, we wouldn't need to single out certain parts of our population with taxes that we try to hide by calling them impact fees.

We have a huge tax base here in Florida, but we don't use all of it. It's time to wake up.

Robert J. Ryan, New Port Richey

School ousted gopher tortoise

What makes a development environmentally friendly? Recently, the St. Petersburg Times lauded the construction of the new elementary school on Gulf Trace in Holiday for its use of energy conserving materials and equipment and its recyclable plan. It was cited as an example of one of the most environmentally sensitive developments in the state and the first in Pasco County for public buildings.

However, that sensitivity seemed to have stopped when it comes to the threatened gopher tortoise. According to a representative from the Pasco County schools, a take permit was granted. This allowed for circumventing current laws making the destruction of the gopher tortoise illegal and mandating relocation of the tortoises before construction begins. Therefore, rather than the humane removal of tortoises, they were removed by bulldozers.

We understand the need for new schools in Pasco County. Our children deserve good schools, which teach conservation and also conserve the resources of our beautiful state. However, we must also look beyond the nuts and bolts. We must consider the species we disrupt and eliminate as we invest and build such wonderful things.

How ironic that the students in this environmentally sensitive building may have to study the gopher tortoise from books and pictures rather than being able to observe this gentle lumbering creature in its natural surroundings.

Monika Kopczynski and George A. Wilson, Holiday

Green school cut down the green

Does anyone else see the irony of certifying the Gulf Trace Elementary School as "green" when the School Board removed 11 acres of tress, shrubs, bird and animal habitat to build it?

Angela Rao-Brown, Holiday

County should pitch in on park

Unfortunately, the lack of park space in Wesley Chapel means that the Wesley Chapel District Park is already too small to meet the needs of the children of Wesley Chapel. Therefore, the question county officials need to answer is what arrangement maximizes the use of the park by the largest number of children and offers our children the greatest variety of sports programs.

If two tackle football programs at the park will prevent hundreds of other children from playing other sports there, the solution seems obvious. Find one of the football programs another place to play.

Given the financial investment being made by Wesley Chapel Athletic Association in the park to cover costs the county would otherwise have to pay, giving its program priority seems like the least the county can do.

Richard Oliver, Wesley Chapel

Developers want best for county April 30 letter

Fix problems before building

With all due respect to the letter writer, we must be reading different newspapers. With all the foreclosures, all the unsold houses, with all the problems with water, all the obscene property insurance rates, the lack of public transportation, crowded highways and city streets, the last thing we need is new building.

Because the powers that be do not curb this unnecessary movement does not make it right. All should be discontinued until these problems are addressed and fixed.

D.G. Murray, New Port Richey.

Rule change will hurt schools

I hope that the Pasco School Board has second thoughts about changing the requirements for students walking at graduation.

As a schoolteacher for 27 years in Pasco, I don't feel that changing a policy to meet the needs of a few outweighs the needs of the many.

If the School Board waives the need to pass FCAT to walk at graduation, how soon do you think that several more students will realize that "Gee, I don't have to pass FCAT and I can still walk as if I received my diploma."

Please realize that there are some students who attend school for social reasons rather than academic ones and may not care if they get a diploma as mentioned in an earlier letter.

Shortly after the number of students not passing the FACT goes up, the School Board will realize that they are hurting the schools, as I feel several schools will see a decline in FCAT scores and go from "A" schools to schools receiving lower grades due to students not trying or not caring.

Trying to change the policy so that fewer than 100 can walk with their friends is like a slap in the face of the more than 3, 000 students who did pass FCAT.

If you don't like the FCAT rule, get rid of FCAT.

Doug Van Etten, New Port Richey

ESE kids face life of challenges

I would like to address the writer's remarks comparing ESE students with others.

Being a parent of an ESE student, I would like to let all know that the children of ESE have special needs they are born with or from an accident of some sort. These children struggle to make it through a day with just about everything they encounter, from getting up to getting dressed to going to school to learning.

Their disabilities are more then learning the English language.

I do feel for children who cannot speak nor understand English because they came from another country, but that is a situation created by parents, grandparents or whomever.

My child of special needs from birth has gone through so much in her life to learn. She went to All Children's for speech twice a week for 11 1/2 years. She's gone to special education classes all her life only to be made fun of by students for a disability that she cannot control.

I look around in the world outside of school and notice that kids who can't speak English can find jobs and a way through life. My child will struggle for the rest of her life.

She has worked extra hard to get where she is and I am so proud of her. She learned to read at age 10 and now can read just about any book she picks up at age 13.

Instead of complaining about anything, she is talking college. Now, you tell me of any child who has earned the right of that stage more than my child. My child deserves to walk across a stage for the biggest achievement of her life.

Don't compare my child with someone stopped only by language.

That is an excuse; my daughter's disabilities are for a lifetime.

Jamie Van Beek, Holiday

Homeowners are being slighted

I am a homeowner, taxpayer and citizen of this county. I am concerned about the discrimination that I and other homeowners on Dipaola Drive are being subjected to in regard to the construction of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Hudson.

Our homes border this site as do the homes and condos on the eastern side of the site.

Why is it that they are afforded two barriers and eventually a concrete wall while all we have is a 2-foot high silk screen?

I am not certain who is responsible for this obvious slight.

Is it that our homes and our well being are not valued as highly by our elected officials?

Are they acting in a prejudicial and discriminatory manner?

It sure appears that way to me.

Linda Hurley-Matzke, Hudson

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