Letters to editor: April 22 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to editor: April 22

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Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010 6:01 pm | Updated: 3:24 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

PROP 406: Tax should be half-cent

Opposition to Gilbert’s one-fourth cent sales tax hike is difficult to understand, unless the complaint is the increase is too small. This diehard Goldwater Conservative can see we will actually need a one-half cent sales tax increase, as well as a secondary property tax to maintain our great quality of life. Facts prove this.

PROP 406: Tax should be half-cent

Opposition to Gilbert’s one-fourth cent sales tax hike is difficult to understand, unless the complaint is the increase is too small. This diehard Goldwater Conservative can see we will actually need a one-half cent sales tax increase, as well as a secondary property tax to maintain our great quality of life. Facts prove this.

First, Gilbert has always had the leanest town staff operation in the Valley; Town Council and staff have been frugal and wise with our money; five citizen committees found no luxuries in the budget; and the adopted citizen recommended cuts provided only small deficit reductions.

Second, the free ride is over. We can’t deny that housing boom impact fees and related sales taxes paid for our current lifestyle. For example, average impact fees increased from $3,000 in 1996 to around $17,000 by 2008, providing streams of money. That revenue level is gone, likely for decades.

Third, economic forecasters virtually all agree the vibrant economy existing prior to 2008 will not return for several years, if ever. This leaves us two choices: Tax ourselves or reduce our quality of life.

If we choose lower quality of life, what do we sacrifice? Our superb parks and recreation system? Our superb citizen services? Our public safety? Do we abandon our water reclamation and Riparian system that has us fast becoming a Minneapolis in the desert? Do we accept an inferior infrastructure? Should we cease improving our roads and streets beyond current bond appropriations, living with scalloped roads, outdated intersections and other traffic obstructions?

Our fortunate circumstance is we don’t have to give up anything. Our current tax base is so low we could enact a one-half cent sales tax and secondary property tax increase without adversely affecting our tax competitiveness, or financially burdening ourselves.

Tax increase opponents often say low municipal taxes attract commerce. The counterpoint is quality of life has the greater appeal. Mesa has long been the low tax king in the Valley, but businesses aren’t lining up to go there. People aren’t either. Some of the most vocal opponents of Gilbert’s tax hike fled Mesa years ago, after they helped send Mesa into decline.

We can all agree on preserving what we have. As a noted Gilbert liberal remarked, “Most of us didn’t come to Gilbert because it was the least expensive. We moved here for the quality of life.”

I especially encourage Gilbert’s conservative and libertarian residents to support the sales tax increase for credibility. After all, we always correctly remind liberals “There is no such thing as a free lunch”.

A yes vote for Prop 406 is a positive act for our future.

Fred L. Pinkney, Gilbert

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HEALTH CARE: New bill makes me sick

As a country grounded in capitalism, how can it be that we offer a non-capitalistic solution to health care challenges in this country?

Had we used the bright minds of leadership, both business and policy makers, in each of the 50 states much closer to the problems they face, their creative thinking may have come up with some viable solutions. Instead we have something that the vast majority of Americans don’t agree with.

The constitutional aspect of states really owning the right to control how they respond to local health care issues and not being told by the federal government what to do is starting to gain traction. The constitutional separation of powers gives this right to the states implicitly.

It appears Obama’s ego is driving the bus of health care, telling everyone to come along for the ride at the expense of other Americans who are already struggling with their finances and completely ignoring mass opposition at the populace and constitutional fronts.

Ralph Ujano, Scottsdale

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TEA PARTY: Expressions perfectly reasonable

Poor Leah Carnine (April 16 Letters), dreading tax day because of the “hate” from those scary Tea Partiers. I noticed some of their signs in the pictures in the April 16 Tribune: “Stop: Spending, Big Government,” “Washington, You Can’t Write Checks on an Empty Account! Stop Spending! We Can’t Afford It!,” “Taxed Enough!,” “You’re Not Entitled to What I Have Earned.”

This is hate? No, these are expressions of perfectly reasonable positions on what our out-of-control government is perpetrating on us. The Tea Party people are Americans exercising their First Amendment right to speak, to protest, to meet with like-minded people and to try to educate the rest of the country which in many cases has NOT done its collective homework and has no idea what is coming down. There is not a single documented case of a threat of violence by a Tea Party participant. There are, however, many documented, recorded hate-filled comments by the lefties, such as Mike Malloy, leftist talk show host wishing that Glenn Beck would “blow his own head off.”

Leah did not offer a single solution to our problems, but she has a problem with the Tea Party solutions: smaller government, lower taxes, less ridiculous spending on pork and foreign aid to our enemies, etc. The main focus of the Tea Party movement is lessening the size and therefore the control over us of the federal government.

Anyone who knows history knows that lower taxes stimulate the economy. More government, more taxes and more government control have the opposite effect — they depress the economy, destroy small (and sometimes large!) businesses, remove the incentive from the individual to work hard, do well, do better, invest in our country and its interests, spend money (which helps business and therefore the economy), and be responsible for himself, his family and his larger community. It depresses charity and squashes freedom. It creates a nation of immature, selfish, lazy people who want someone else — the government (read: US) to take care of him. In other words, it creates Europe. Do you know, Leah, what is happening to Europe? Ever hear of Greece? Please educate yourself as to why Europe is trying to lurch to the right — albeit too late — while this administration is going hell bent for leather to the left. Even though, in the history of the world, the left has never produced prosperity, freedom, individual responsibility, or moral high ground.

Leah, you are right to be scared, but you are definitely scared of the wrong people.

Jan Pfahl, Chandler

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SOCIAL PROMOTION: Retain kids who can't read

I am a strong advocate of the proposed bill that will hold back third graders if they do not meet a reading standard. I feel this way for two reasons.

The first reason is that it works. Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, stated that after implementing the system, Florida’s reading scores soared. Florida went from half of their kids being functionally illiterate, to their kids being above the national standard for reading. I don’t think I have to say what a huge and compelling improvement this is.

The second reason is that it will spare kids the embarrassment of not being able to read well in high school. We have all had that kid in class who could not read. That is the exact thing I am talking about. How can we justify social promotion if it sacrifices our children’s literacy because of their feelings in third grade? I would rather have my kid be held back a year and spare him from being that kid in high school who didn’t graduate because he couldn’t read well. If it means they can function as an adult in the world, then an extra year of school is a good investment.

I hope this bill passes because I have seen enough of my peers struggling to read the simplest things. The kids may not like having to stay back a year, but it’s better than the alternative.

Timothy Michael Huff, Chandler

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