Legislature Hurting All Of Us


In just a few short years, current Annapolis politicians have given us a sales tax increase, a personal income tax hike, predatory gambling and now a 3% tax increase in the alcohol tax. To add insult, they are not even using this projected new income to balance the state budget, reduce state debt, or return the dollars proportionately to the counties. They are spending it.

This new tax can only further damage Worcester County where supermarkets, retailers and restaurants are closing, where jobs are lost and tax-free Delaware is just minutes away.

Please take the time to contact the Governor and beg (or demand) that he not sign this new legislation. He can be reached through the online email form at www.governor.maryland.gov or by phone at 410-974-3901 or 800-811-8336.

Proponents say they have not had a tax increase in ‘X’ number of years. The truth is that with a percentage tax, they get more dollars every time prices go up. Where or when will this end?

John Fager
Ocean City

Alcohol Tax A Mistake


You would think the government would start to understand that the economy is in trouble. But no, they come up with another add-on sales tax to the purchase of drinks. And they make a big claim as to the amount this new tax will generate. How do they sell the idea? Easy, with a promise that $47.5 million would be dedicated to "School Construction Projects." Wonderful. Who do they think they’re kidding? They’ll never get that kind of money. People aren’t stupid. They’ll have their before-and-after drinks at home rather than pay a 9% tax when going out to dinner. And the people who will be most hurt by this added tax are the restaurant and tavern owners.

But the tax isn’t the real problem. Mr. McDermott touched on it when he mentioned Montgomery County, Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. Do the citizens realize that these three areas control this entire state? They are the largest populated areas and because of this have the most Delegates. How this group vote determines what is or isn’t passed in this state. Somehow this has got to change. These areas most times vote as a block. When they do all the other counties have no voice in how this state is run.

If you go back into the 1780s during the convention when the union was being formed, five of the southern states had a large slave population that they considered "property", not people. Since the other eight states considered them "people", (which they have always been) they needed to solve the problem. How they did it at the time was to make the slave counted as less than a whole person.

Now taking a look at that solution let’s get back to our current problem: The three largest populated areas controlling the state. Maybe Mr. Conway or Mr. McDermott can create a bill that would develop a formula that would limit the allowable population per square mile. If an area exceeded the allowable number of people per square mile any new person moving into the area would be counted only as one quarter of a person thereby limiting the amount of delegates that area could achieve. I know that this idea sounds crazy but we’ve got to do something to correct this situation.

At least Mr. Conway and Mr. McDermott came close and gave it a good try but close doesn’t win when voting on another tax issue. Somehow we’ve got to get government officials out of the spending habit.

Paul St. Andre
Ocean City

Impressed By Paper


I recently submitted a picture and some words of thank you to family and friends in memory of my husband, Henry James Hingleton, to be published in The Dispatch in color and a special size.

I left the picture with Terri French. The next day I got to see how the staff members improved my picture and suggestion. All I could do was stand there in the office with my mouth wide open and finally said, “that’s beautiful.”

I personally would like to say thank you to the staff for a job done so well and now my family and my husband’s family and friends can have a keepsake of my husband.

I have it as a screen saver on my computer. The feedback from people agrees with me. Beautiful messages coming from people in Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, California, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Pat Hingleton

Congress Off The Mark


If ever there was a window into our flawed, failed, blind government, it would be the events of this past week.

Politicos pat each other’s backs because they managed to pass an overdue budget with under-due cuts of $31 billion. Big whoop. To give that joke its appropriate punch line, the U.S. spent $237 billion on 186 tomahawk missiles during the first 10 days of the NATO Libyan Liberation. That was in the last three weeks.

And now that gas prices are inching toward and over the $4 mark, Washington is “talking” about temporarily suspending the required components that make gas cost 25% more. We are in a gas emergency. The deferral of costly and environmentally goofy “seasonal gas additives” should have been done already. As in yesterday.

God help us all with business as usual in our current Congress.

Perhaps we could solve a far greater problem if our Eastern Shore representatives would find us $1.5 million dollars to buy one Tomahawk missile. We could launch it from Wallops Island, for a very short trip to Washington, D.C.

That, friends, would save us some real money.

Frederick Cropper-Jenkins
Ocean City

Republicans Out Of Touch


The recession is far from over and so many people in my community are struggling to pay their bills, find a decent job, and make a good life for their kids. Yet this reality has seemingly gone unnoticed by Andy Harris and the Republicans in Washington, D.C. The Republicans just passed a budget that would abolish Medicare as we know it, while doling out even more tax cuts for the rich.

The Republicans are endangering a program that provides vital health care services to most Americans over the age of 65. It’s downright irresponsible to leave seniors’ health care to the mercy of private insurance companies. Our local Representative Harris voted for this Republican budget and put tax cuts for millionaires before the health and well-being of seniors.

It is time to tell Representative Harris, and all the Republicans in Congress, that enough is enough. Programs that protect our parents and grandparents, like Medicare, should not be on the chopping block to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.

Our nation has a budget problem that requires increased revenue as well as reduced spending. Corporations and the wealthy need to pay their fair share. “Across the board” cutting programs cannot exclude the Department of Defense or Homeland Security.

One would think that Dr. Harris, an anesthesiologist himself, would better understand the role Medicare plays for seniors and the disabled to keep them from catastrophic medical bills and bankruptcy. Perhaps he is just interested in privatizing Medicare so he can increase what he charges his patients, without any limitations caused by negotiated payments with Medicare.

Ken Smith

Donations Appreciated


The Ocean City Lodge of the Sons of Italy would like to thank the merchants of Ocean City and Ocean Pines who so graciously donated wine, merchandise and gift certificates for our 1st Annual St. Joseph’s Day Italian Festival in March. Their gifts helped us have a table of prizes for raffling that was a key part of making our first festival such a success.

Over 800 people came and shared the day with us. The crowd so exceeded our expectations that we ran out of some food items, however, we promise that we will be prepared for the crowd next year with our great Italian homemade food and pastries. We have started a new Ocean City tradition and it will only grow each year.

Again, we are grateful to these merchants and wish them great success in the upcoming season.
Sal Castorina

A Day To Educate


Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care is participating in an effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making by recognizing April 16, 2011 as National Healthcare Decisions Day.

This is an important day of awareness and education focused on encouraging everyone – including those who are healthy and in the prime of their life – to think about and document care treatment preferences before a crisis. Advance directives allow you to document in advance your end-of-life wishes in the event that you are terminally ill or critically injured and unable to talk or communicate. Hospice and palliative care providers are important sources of information for advance care planning and we are actively working to promote awareness about this very important issue.

As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known. Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient and healthcare providers will be better equipped to address healthcare issues, providing precisely the type of care that the patient expressed in advance of a crisis.

Alane Capen

(The writer is president of Coastal Hospice & Palliative Care.)