We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and call-in comments may be edited for clarity and length.
Increase will hurt U.S. economy
The American economy is in serious trouble. The Labor Department reports unemployment claims surged with 378,000 people filing for unemployment for the first time in the week ended March 15. Millions of Americans are in danger of losing their homes, and many employers are struggling to meet payroll.
Given the economic challenges we face, it is critical we do not slam the economy with a massive tax hike. Unfortunately, that is exactly what Congress is prepared to do. The 2009 federal budget plans of the U.S. House’s Democratic leadership would let nearly all of the 2001 tax cuts expire in three years.
Failure to make the 2001 tax cuts permanent will have a negative impact on the lives of American workers. In 2011, income taxes will increase by 3 and 4.5 percentage points in each bracket. The estate tax or “death tax” will increase to 60 percent. Tax rates of capital gains and dividends are also set to automatically increase.
Experience has shown time and time again that reductions in the marginal tax rate stimulate economic growth and job creation. Conversely, tax increases strain the economy, slow business growth and reduce job creation.
Given how important it is to avoid a big tax increase, one has to wonder what the current Congress is thinking. Future generations of Americans will wonder why our generation failed to rein in excess spending, leaving them to bear the burden. This is the time to let your congressman know that raising taxes and increasing spending is the wrong direction for the country.
STATE REP. MARK ANDERSON
REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE, CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 5
Bonding is sound practice
The East Valley Partnership wants to commend the leadership of the Arizona House of Representatives for reaching the conclusion that the time has come to borrow money for school construction projects. Our board of directors passed a resolution supportive of financing school construction last month.
The partnership believes this is a prudent and practical approach. It’s also quite businesslike. How many major construction projects in the private sector are paid for using cash? Precious few. Families’ biggest investments — their homes — are similarly financed with debt and paid over time.
Borrowing to pay for school construction makes sense for several reasons. It allows future users of the schools to help pay for them rather than have current residents pick up the full tab. It allows the state to take advantage of the favorable interest rates that are now offered by the national capital markets. And, finally, borrowing, coupled with budget cuts and a dip into the state’s “rainy day” fund, will help Arizona get over the huge deficits the state faces this year and next.
We urge the legislators and Gov. Janet Napolitano to continue finding common ground to solve Arizona’s budget crisis. The decision on financing school construction is a good first step.
CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
EAST VALLEY PARTNERSHIP
We can’t leave NCLB behind
Once again, our legislators are trying to pass legislation enabling Arizona to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Once again, the Arizona Business & Education Coalition asks our legislators to “stay the course.” We understand that this proposed legislation is really a soapbox statement to the federal government, urging it to fix the law.
We ask our legislators to oppose any effort of remove our state from NCLB — not only because we cannot afford the loss of $600 million in education funding, but also because it keeps us focused on success for every child.
We agree there are problems with NCLB, but ABEC supports its vision as it sets high expectations for all students and provides transparency for community members.
The No Child Left Behind Act is a federal law passed with bipartisan support to assure that all children achieve success on state-developed content standards. When passed, it was viewed as a civil rights law. The goal of 100 percent proficiency is an aspiration; one we ought to have for every child. This law has certainly kept us focused on how to make every child reach that goal.
ABEC is concerned that the law can be demoralizing to hard-working teachers within a school setting. We are concerned that Arizona’s data collection system, foundational to assessing success of schools, be accurate and comprehensive. We believe there are insufficient appropriations to implement NCLB and that reauthorization should address other specific educator concerns. There must be a rational alignment between NCLB and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
But we also believe that the ideas and principles of NCLB need to be retained. There is no magical solution — so we must provide the resources and commitment to expect all children to succeed public schools. It is a moral issue.
ARIZONA BUSINESS & EDUCATION COALITION
Where the blame belongs
Larry Glasford (Letters, Sunday) is totally out of line blaming President Bush for the high price of gasoline. Neither the governor, the Congress nor the president has any control over the cost of gasoline. That is established by the cost OPEC puts on the barrel of crude. In 1999, that cost was less the $25. Today it is more than $100. That is more than a four-fold increase in the crude cost compared to less than a three-fold increase is the cost of gasoline.
Pump more oil in U.S.
Patricia Abraham (Letters, March 16) may be too young to remember that we had to wait in long lines to get gas in the 1970s. We knew then that we needed to develop our own oil supplies. But the bane of America, the environmentalists, somehow have blocked our efforts. For 30 years we have been in the grip of OPEC, which has not helped America, but has helped countries where terrorism breeds and human rights are few. Just plain common sense tells me that helping America helps the world because America helps the world, one way by paying the lion’s share of the cost of the United Nations.
We do need other energy sources, but in the interim, we should now have and should have had our own oil in our own country, where we do have control.
He deserved his moment
This is in reply to the grouch (Peter J. O’Malley) who forgot to take his happy pills before writing about Brett Favre (Letters, March 16). OK, let’s put the problems of the world upon a football quarterback. My family was extremely disappointed to read this person’s view of one of the most positive, fun-loving athletes — not to mention one of the few good men to be heroes or idols for our young.
He faced his demons, publicly, and got through the pain. He continues to help his wife in her crusade against breast cancer. He played football and reminded us that it is a game. He made it fun! If anything, his ego was kept in check by himself.
Favre has the right to be upset after 17 years of service, pain and thrills. Any transition or closure in life is an emotional rollercoaster for most.