Letters to the editor 12-2-2011

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Combine dispatch offices
In the Oct. 26 issue of the West Marion Messenger, one of the front page articles was “Joint Emergency Dispatch Rejected.”
After reading that article I was angry and disappointed. Angry because the city of Ocala and our county commissioners let us down again and disappointed because they are so out of touch.
The agreement to combine the dispatch service of the county and city makes perfect sense. Not only will it cut down on multiple units showing up at the same scene it will save the taxpayers a huge amount of money.
The city sent a letter to the commissioners backing out of a previous agreement. Was the reason because one of their own was going to lose his or her job? If so, shame on you for giving priority to one of your own and totally disregarding the rest of the community.
I was not aware of the fact that working for the city guaranteed you permanent employment. If that is the case, where do I go to sign up for that deal?
Three years ago the company that I work for cut my hours from full-time (40 hours) to part-time (20 hours) per week. I didn’t complain. I felt blessed to still have a job. My husband and I adjusted our spending accordingly and learned to live with our smaller income.
My situation has improved and I am now working 25-30 hours per week. My point is that things happen. No one can guarantee that I will always have my job. “That’s life!” Why should a city employee receive preferential treatment?
I hope that the city will reconsider its position on this matter and honor its original agreement. It’s the right thing to do for the community as a whole.
Kathy J. Hall
Oak Creek Village

Idle thoughts
During their up-coming 2012 session, our governor and our state legislators are considering a plan to create a state sales tax on purchases made by Florida residents from out-of-state companies on the Internet. The new tax is expected to generate some $450 million in income during 2012 and then increase yearly by sizable amounts. They are then preparing to use these new funds to further reduce the corporate income tax on businesses inside Florida. In the 2011 session they reduced these business taxes by some $30 million.
Also in the 2011 session, the governor and the legislators made large changes in the membership of the Public Service Commission. The commission has since become a rubber stamp approval agency for our public utilities instead of a monitoring and governing agency. Check your telephone and electric and water and sewer bills for the first three months of this year, compared to your current bills.
The small increases in the fees and taxes on these bills that were passed on to us, used to be part of the cost of doing business for these companies.
That $450 million in increased state income will come from us, the Florida residents who make Internet purchases. It is an increase in our taxes. All of our state’s sales taxes are added after the sale and are not part of the advertised price.
Governor Scott is a Republican, as are the super majorities in both houses of our legislative branch. Their dedication to the continued wealth and profits of Florida’s businesses is obvious. Also obvious is their knowledge on how to keep their campaign chests and slush fund buckets full.
Unfortunately, all of their success is coming from an increased cost of living for us, the Florida resident and consumer. The 2012 elections will be a good opportunity to show the Republicans that passing on new taxes and fees to strapped consumers, while giving tax breaks to their profitable friends and donors, can be hazardous to their livelihood.
Bill Farthing

A holiday from Stimulus?
The administration and the Congress, abetted by the press, are in a public debate over whether to extend the 2 percent tax holiday that was applied to Social Security last year. The line from the administration goes something like this: “To quote Republicans, the last thing we should do in a recession is to raise taxes. This will take $1,000 away from every working class family in America.” The line from some Republicans is: “We have to find a way to pay for it. And it should come from reductions in spending … not tax increases elsewhere. To do the latter is merely redistributing the wealth.”
We should have learned our lesson with the original stimulus package in 2009. Simply put: Keynesian economic theory has not worked.
Additionally, to take an estimated $240B from the Social Security trust fund, at a time when the long-term viability of Social Security is in question, seems ill advised.
Yes, we would all like to pay zero taxes … and we are prone to support those in the administration and the Congress who want to “give us our money back.” However, there are items in the federal budget that we must support … and we must support with our taxes. One such item is defense spending. We are on a track to cut spending on defense by 20 percent. If the defense cuts are not changed, we will be at an all-time post World War II low in defense spending-a mere 2.7 percent of GDP. This comes at a time when we are at war in multiple places around the world. Further, cutting defense by 20 percent would throw several hundred thousand of our troops out of work. It would decimate the defense industrial base causing the loss of over 1 million jobs.
The Preamble to the Constitution says: “…provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare…” It seems that our leaders in Washington, D.C., have mixed up the verbs in this phrase. Perhaps Presidents Kennedy and Reagan were not wrong in their decisions to stimulate the economy by increasing defense spending. Something to think about.
Mike Emig
Air Force Association

Don’t buy a wolf in sheep’s clothing
In Iowa, riverboat casinos started along the Mississippi River were touted as family entertainment. “Bring the kids and ride the steamboat on the Mississippi.” Historic entertainment they called it. After much debate, gambling was legal, but with many restrictions. The most you could lose each cruise was $200 and the maximum bet permitted was $5. Kids could play video games free with an attendant watching. Casino boats were required to cruise, weather permitting and would bring in tourists who would spend millions in the community.
Soon after, the maximum bet was raised, thus the amount one could lose per trip was eliminated. The $5 kids were now charged was later raised to $10 and eventually no one under 21 was permitted on board. In a short time, “historic entertainment” was segued into hardcore gambling. Cruising was no longer required. The entertainment was limited to “Jeff and Sally,” a duo who sang there for years.
Player VIP cards were issued and bus tours came pouring in. If you lost enough gambling, meals and benefits were free. The buses that were to bring hordes of tourists to town offered no transportation to stores or restaurants so “tourism” was non-existent. Casinos were now becoming land based.
After a while came the restaurant and store closings, the tales of remorse from local losers, stories of theft, divorce, bankruptcies and worse, due to the addiction of gambling. The real losers were the communities where casinos exist. The funds previously spent in stores and restaurants are now in the pockets of big business and government, not with the small business which make up the backbone of this country.
How much coercion and/or bribery will it take to legalize more gambling in Florida? We won’t know until it is too late.
Harold Imgrund
Oak Run

Urban Meyer to Ohio State a travesty
With the reporting by all the sports networks that Urban Meyer is going to Ohio State. What a travesty. My first thought is to throw up and then to think Ohio people aren’t that stupid. Born and raised in Ohio in the town of Barnesville, Ohio, my great, great, great, great, grandfather Levin Barnes founded, it sickens me to have Meyer be associated with Ohio State. I even directed band in the “O” in Ohio/Buckeye Stadium. But let Meyer get to Ohio State and I will no longer support one of the greatest football programs ever. Just think Woody Hayes and Jim Tressel, he’s not even in their class. Wow!
People should remember that Meyer won two national championships not with his recruits but those of Ron Zook, who was a wining coach at Florida, but Florida’s president wanted Meyer so out goes the Zooker and doing right well at Illinois. Meyer feigned illness to leave Florida, but he never would say what his condition might be. He didn’t recruit Tim Tebow and when Tebow graduated Florida has been going downhill ever since. Just think of John Brantley one of Meyer’s recruits and we can rest our case there.
The news media hypes up a particular coach or derides one of the finest ever, being Joe Paterno, and all at once Meyer has a resume that tops all others but it’s on paper only, the type that’s black on white and read all over which is a joke.
Oh well, how long will it take Meyer to claim illness and have to leave Ohio State. Let’s say losing to Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, Illinois and Iowa should do it. Oh yes, let’s not forget Northwestern and Minnesota, that should do it. Poor baby.
Bill Ford
Oak Run