Letters To The Editor 11/14/2018
Ban some guns
Editor: In the Nov. 4 Sunday Times, Richard Mates (“Hate’s toll mounts”) laments the unconscionable massacre at his boyhood house of worship, Tree of Life synagogue, in Pittsburgh.
Mates says he doesn’t see a solution to the hatred in this country and asks, “Do we regulate semiautomatic guns?” No, we should do much more than that. There is absolutely no reason for anyone in the United States of America — other than law enforcement and the military — to possess automatic and semiautomatic weapons.
Those weapons must be outlawed.
Plea for reform
Editor: Democrats have taken back the House and the Republicans have increased their margins in the Senate.
Who really won? It certainly wasn’t the voters, no matter what your party. If you look at the obscene amount of money spent on the midterm elections, you see why so many people are turned off by the entire process.
The average salary for members of the House and Senate is $174,000. Multiply that by the 535 members and that total pay is $93 million. If you factor in a quarter of their salary for benefits, that would increase their pay to $116.25 million in salary and benefits.
Sounds like a lot of money? Well, according to ABC News, the total estimated money spent on the election by candidate campaigns, political parties and outside money is a ridiculous $5.2 billion.
The top three states in spending were Florida at $181 million, Missouri at $119 million and Texas at $107 million. Pennsylvania came in at around $63 million for two big races that were pretty much over from the start.
In the movie “Brewster’s Millions,” when lead character Monty Brewster ran for mayor of New York, an opponent remarked, “Why would anyone spend $10 million to get a $60,000 a year job?” Thirty years later, $10 million doesn’t get you too far.
The McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 was supposed to address the issue. It has clearly not worked and it is time for real campaign finance reform.
Until the amount of money in contributions is limited to $100 individually and $300 for business while eliminating political action committee spending and the unnecessary attack ads from outside money, lobbyists and political groups, business as usual will continue. It’s time for the new Congress to address this issue once and for all.
Editor: Flying under the radar at the close of the recent state legislative session was a new law to create a formal process to consider the closure of a state prison facility.
In the last five years, three state prisons have closed with little or no warning, affecting thousands of corrections officers and their families. Under this new law, a process will go into effect that will allow for a thorough review and an opportunity for communities to make their case against a potential closure, including public hearings and economic impact studies.
The Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association worked with Gov. Tom Wolf, his administration, and a bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic legislators in the House and Senate to create a new system that will ensure the wellbeing of corrections officers, their families and communities are strongly considered when the commonwealth looks at the potential closing of a state correctional institution.
Thanks to the governor for his strong leadership on this issue that puts our officers and their loved ones first. This legislation also wouldn’t be possible without the bipartisan support of members of the House and Senate who passed this legislation unanimously. Thank you.
The days of forcing corrections officers and their families to make split-second decisions about the rest of their lives are over. Our members risk their lives every day in service to their communities. This new law respects their sacrifice.
JASON C. BLOOM,
PENNSYLVANIA STATE CORRECTIONS OFFICERS ASSOCIATION,
Editor: Whatever happened to the respect ?
This was on display after the recent killings at a Pittsburgh synagogue when the president showed up to show respect to the deceased. A crowd of demonstrators protested his presence and some wacky lady screamed, we don’t want you here. It showed no respect to the president and disrespected the deceased. If President Trump had showed up after the funerals, he would have been condemned for coming too late. Everyone does not agree with him, yet respect was lacking.
People need to show more respect, not only to each other, but to our flag, the national anthem, law enforcement, teachers, parents, peers, other’s beliefs and to politicians running for office. This must be taught at the ground level, when children are growing up and respect their parents. This would be a huge beginning toward healing the rampant hate that evolves from lack of respect, which is a growing cancer to humanity, not a cure.
Tax cut defender
Editor: The Times-Tribune’s editorial on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Scam II,” Oct. 25) ignores its positive outcomes and accuses lawmakers of scamming taxpayers without providing a shred of evidence.
Pennsylvanians have greatly benefited from tax relief. Companies are raising wages, offering employee education and training, handing out bonuses, increasing retirement benefits and donating to charitable causes — all thanks to tax reform. One local example is Fidelity Bank in Dunmore, which announced a $1,000 bonus payment for all employees making less than $100,000 annually. There are similar examples throughout the state.
But the evidence isn’t just anecdotal. According to the Tax Foundation, the law means more take-home pay for taxpayers in all income groups over the next several years. In Scranton, this amounts to an average tax cut of $1,458 per person. The Heritage Foundation predicts an average tax cut of $1,169 for each Pennsylvanian in 2018 and a rise in take-home pay of $20,094 per household over 10 years.
It’s irresponsible and indefensible to describe these benefits as a scam. Entrepreneurs and workers should be able to keep more of what they earn. If lawmakers responsibly restrain government spending, it can ensure Washington doesn’t accumulate more of your money and power. It already has too much.