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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Today's Letters: Out of control government budgets are the real problem
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 29, 2007
Values up; taxes to follow May 26, story
The reality of property taxes rising is the result of our elected officials doing absolutely nothing. It is the same thing as finding a wallet with thousands of dollars in it and spending the money rather than tracking down the individual identified on the driver's license. It is stealing!
Now, the Times is reporting our taxes will be increasing because the property appraiser is raising our assessments. Sorry, but that is the effect not the cause. The property appraiser simply determines market value each year as of Jan. 1. The cause is that our officials aren't doing their job by keeping their budgets in check.
Quite simply, if property values are going up it means tax rates must come down to keep the budgets from increasing. The fact is, by the time budgets are set our elected officials know exactly how much their jurisdictions will get if they simply do nothing. And that is exactly what they are doing - nothing.
We need to pass laws that control the budgets and use our voting power to oust officials who are not more responsible. People must realize our elected officials are not doing their jobs. They are letting the increase in revenue come in as if they had nothing to do with it.
One final point: If more revenue is needed, then why isn't there more talk of removing the unbelievably high number of exemptions from sales taxes? At least impose a 2 or 3 percent sales tax on all products and services that are currently exempt.
P.J. Clancy, St. Petersburg
Two housing tales
Values up; taxes to follow May 26, story
This article quotes tax appraisers stating that Hillsborough County housing values are up 11 percent and Hernando County's are up 13.7 percent. On the same day, a Business section headline said, Resale dip hits bay area hard. The article cites Realtor data that show sales prices in the Tampa Bay area down 5 percent.
Which headline should we believe? My perception is to go with the Business section headline from Realtors' data, but the tax appraisers won't like that one.
R. Thomas Paslay Jr., Homosassa
I read in the St. Petersburg Times that property values are increasing and thus taxes will increase. As a professional in the real estate industry, I can tell you, property values have declined as much as 30 percent in Pinellas County alone. How can the county concoct a notion that property values have increased? This is absurd!
Does anyone in county government have a sense of reality? We need representatives in government with business and common sense. If not, we'll all be in Tennessee soon.
Glenn Bradley, Seminole
Where's the sense?
Your newspaper reported on Saturday that the sales of existing bay area homes have plunged 56 percent in two years, the median sale price has dropped, yet magically our property values are up 5.8 percent in Pinellas County, and we can expect our property tax assessments to reflect that.
That makes absolutely no sense at all. How on earth can our property values be increasing when we can't even find buyers on eBay? Would Pinellas County Tax Collector Diane Nelson like to offer us what she clearly considers fair market value for our house, or is this simply another thinly veiled fraud to extort even more money out of us under color of authority?
Emmet Bondurant, Clearwater
Pushing pay down
Dad was better off then we are May 26, story
This article, a compelling argument for taking a "time out" on the Senate's immigration amnesty bill, concludes that the median income for a man today in his 30s is 12 percent less than his counterpart in 1974.
This should concern us all. A falling standard of living for younger Americans? Is this what we want?
In parts of the country most impacted by illegal immigration, wage losses in blue collar industries such as construction, meat packing, etc., are much higher than that 12 percent.
And white collar workers shouldn't feel safe. A Programmers Guild study reveals that American industry is paying foreign programmers in the United States $13, 000 less annually than Americans. And programmers aren't the only ones being replaced. The H-1B visa portion of the amnesty bill will bring in even more professional workers, including doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers. Have you (or your kids) plans to enter these professions? Good luck!
Contact your senators and representatives and let them know that this giveaway has to stop.
Tom Waldbart, Wesley Chapel
Demand safe food
After 9/11, we read about concerns that terrorists might somehow cause harm to our food supply. Little did we know that our government and our business leaders would aid and abet those who wish to contaminate our foods.
Unless the government provides funding for an effective FDA, and big business stops encouraging suppliers from adulterating products to keep costs down, we are in danger of unknowingly eating and drinking things not meant for human consumption.
Shame on both for letting us down. Shame on us for rewarding businesses that don't adequately monitor quality or that push their suppliers for rock-bottom prices. And shame on us for not demanding the government do more to protect us. If they don't, we should show our displeasure at the checkout counter and the ballot box.