Voices From The Readers – February 28, 2020

Voices From The Readers – February 28, 2020

Proper Fiscal Planning Would Help Everyone


Has anyone on the city council ever heard of government accounting rules called fund accounting?

This is a separate restricted fund established to hold funds for a specific purpose, such as project costs to overhaul infrastructure.

Any informed and educated business person knows that funds are put aside each year to pay for improvements or replacements.

If this had been done 30 or 40 years ago, the city would have the funds for the improvements. This would have been a charge to everyone who used the system each year.

As it stands now you are penalizing those current users over the next five years and letting thousands of people in the past to get away without paying their share.

I think we need government representatives with more foresight.

Jim Wagenmann


Congressman’s Opposition Rooted In Bill’s Specifics


This is in response to Christopher Koch’s letter of Feb. 21 concerning Andy Harris’ vote against HR 2932 (Homeland Security For Children Act).

I read Mr. Koch’s letter and I had to laugh, because I knew the congressman had actually read the legislation (unlike so many of this fellow members of Congress).

Just to be sure, I contacted Congressman Harris to find out why he voted against Bill H.R. 2932. I was informed that his “no” vote was because the bill was designed to embarrass the Border Patrol and the president – to imply that they don’t care about children and won’t treat them well unless forced to by Congress. It was sponsored by a Congressman who despises President Trump. It would do exactly nothing to help children on the border.

Is it necessary to remind Mr. Koch and others that the policies being carried out on the border by our Border Patrol are pretty much the same policies that were in place during the Obama Administration?

Congressman Harris gets a lot of grief for some of the “no” votes he makes – the bills sound so good, and they mean so well, but when you dig into them you find out they won’t work as advertised and will mainly just end up wasting taxpayer funds and growing government. And let me tell, you, in my opinion, the government’s track record on just about anything is not good.

The bottom line for me is this – Congressman Harris is one of the very few members of the House of Representatives who actually reads legislation before he votes on it. I, for one, really appreciate that.

Carol Frazier

Ocean Pines


Interpretation Of Gun Bill Way Off The Mark


I am responding to a letter to the editor in last week’s edition regarding current gun safety legislation in the Maryland General Assembly. I’m not sure Ms. Frazier could’ve been more off the mark with her interpretation of Senate Bill 208 (House Bill 4, the companion bill she mentioned, passed out of the House of Delegates weeks ago).

Currently, in the state of Maryland, no background checks are required on private sales of shotguns and rifles — like sales arranged online and at gun shows when the seller is not a federally licensed firearm dealer — meaning that felons and other prohibited people have easy access to these firearms, no questions asked. SB208 would close this dangerous loophole by requiring a background check at the point of sale between the seller and purchaser.

SB208 includes multiple commonsense exceptions that allow for transfers between direct family members, and the temporary transfer of shotguns and rifles while hunting, at lawfully organized shooting competitions and practices and at sport shooting ranges or gun clubs. These exceptions were built-in specifically to accommodate shotgun and rifle owners in rural areas, like the Eastern Shore, where hunting and sport shooting are a common pastime.

Firearms, not cancer or car accidents, are the leading cause of death for kids and teens in the state of Maryland, and across the nation. And as American women, we are 21 times more likely to be killed by a gun than women in any other high-income country. Given this data, and the fact that states with comprehensive gun laws experience lower rates of gun homicide, gun suicide, and gun trafficking, why aren’t we working together as a community to embrace these live-saving measures rather than spreading fear and misinformation?

Many gun owners, including the one I’m married to, would gladly submit to a background check, because they are interested in keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people who would pose a threat to our children, our families, and our communities. 90% of Americans and the majority of Marylanders support background checks on all gun sales. A growing number of Eastern Shore parents and concerned citizens expect our representatives to prioritize the safety of our children and communities by adopting these common-sense gun safety laws. We hope this is the year Maryland closes the long gun background check loophole.

Kady Everson



Misleading TV Ads


Why do Medicare consulting companies tell people on television that there is a deadline for enrolling when the deadline expired two months ago? Are they trying to force seniors into making uninformed quick decisions to sign up with their plans?

Bob Faszczewski



A High-Tax State


Maryland is a high-tax state.

Recent changes in federal tax law have made the tax situation worse. At the federal level, the maximum, combined amount of state and local property, income and sales taxes that can be deducted is now $10,000. In the past, these taxes have generally been fully deductible. However, there was a substantial increase in the standard deduction — $12,000 for single taxpayers and $24,000 for married taxpayers. This means that most taxpayers will be better off taking the standard deduction on their federal tax return and, unless they have very substantial charitable and other allowed deductions, their state and local property and income taxes will yield no tax benefit on their federal income taxes.

However, if you take the standard deduction on your federal tax return, you will not be able to itemize your deductions on your Maryland tax return and you will pay more in taxes to Maryland. This represents a de facto tax increase by the State of Maryland and has been accomplished without the Maryland state legislature passing any legislation.

Conclusion: Maryland taxpayers have received a double-whammy at both the federal and state levels.

Especially for seniors, Maryland is a high-tax state. A tax rate (state + county) of circa 8% applies to the majority of taxpayers and can be as high as 8.95%. Nine states have no income tax. Nine other states exempt the total amount of civil service annuities. Five additional states exempt certain federal civil service annuities from taxation. Seniors receive a relatively minor tax break in Maryland. Recent changes in federal tax law have made the tax situation worse for Maryland seniors.

Legislation is currently pending in Annapolis that would fix the itemized deduction problem (House Bill 788 and Senate Bill 486) and make retirement income tax free in Maryland for those having an adjusted gross income of less than $100,000 (Senate Bill 278). Please ask your legislators to support these bills.

The bottom line is Maryland taxation is unfair to seniors. This is your money. Do you want to do something about this?  Yes, click to NARFE’s website. Please take action now even if you have done so in the past. New legislation has been introduced in the past several days.

When you click on yes on our website, the link will take you to the NARFE Legislative Action Center, where you can compose and send a message about Keeping Maryland seniors in Maryland to the governor, state senators and state delegates.

Edward Holland

(The writer is the public relations director for the NARFE MD Federation.)