Letters to the editor

April 09, 1997

Thanks for saving our firm from fire

To the editor:

I would like to thank all of the fire companies involved in fighting the fire that occurred at our facility on April 1, including, but not limited to: Maugansville, Graeencastle, Long Meadow, Hagerstown, Halfway, Community Rescue, Emeregency Air Unit and Emergency Rehab Unit. Their professional and skills prevented what could have been a tragedy for our company, its employees, our customers and neighbors.

I would like to especially thank and commend Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Company Capt. Chris Gelwicks and his men for their incredible response time - five minutes - which was the single largest factor in preventing the fire from spreading to the rest of the structures.

These men battled several elements including very volatile chemicals and winds in excess of 30 miles per hour, and were able to contain the blaze to a 40-by 50 structure.


So often the press reports on what was destroyed by fires. I would like to report what was saved, beginning with the adjoining structures, adjacent buildings, neighboring homes, inventory and aircraft stored in and around our facility, the total of which is $3.5 million.

Tracey Potter

General manager

Alphin Aircraft, Inc.

Not another tax!

To the editor:

After years of unsuccessful efforts to hit up the many Maryland taxpayers who work in Washington with a commuter tax, the tax-and-spend crowd is back at it again. Now President Clinton wants to take dollars from taxpayers in Maryland and across the country and use them to fund "state-like" services in D.C. Clinton's proposal to increase net federal money flowing to Washington, D.C., is bad news for a number of reasons.

First, it takes the pressure off Washington to bring its own spending under control. Overspending has caused D.C.'s budget troubles. From 1980 to 1990, Washington saw a stunning 54 percent increase in operating costs (adjusting for inflation and population change). In Washington's schools, the city is spending $7,655 per pupil, which is 26 percent higher than the national average and $2,000 more than in Baltimore.

Second, the president's plan is premised on the silly assumption that since the city of Washington doesn't have a state to turn to, the federal government needs to takeover "state-like" functions. As over-burdened D.C. taxpayers know too well, while the city is not part of any state, residents already pay all the same taxes that state governments use for funding programs. The District has a punishing income tax with a top rate of 9.5 percent (higher than most states), and hefty sales and excise taxes.

Finally, the District can't cry poverty either. Supporters of more federal dollars fail to consider that despite problem areas, D.C. has higher per capita income ($32,274 in 1995) than any state in the nation, including Maryland. Thus, because of this wealth, even without huge infusions of federal revenues, a reasonable tax system could fund needed services. And Washington's problems notwithstanding, from 1980 to 1990, the city's annual revenues from federal and local sources managed to increase by $1.3 billion.

Like the commuter tax proposals of past years, the president's tax and spend solution for the District should be rejected.

John E. Berthoud

Vice President

Maryland Taxpayers Association

Preserving farms: We already have a good program

To the editor:

Earlier this session, Gov. Parris Glendening formally introduced a group of proposals known as "Smart Growth" initiatives. One of those proposals, the Rural Legacy Program, calls for using Program Open Space money and general obligation bonds in targeted areas over the next five years.

The Maryland Farm Bureau feels it is important to clarify our position on some points of the proposal.

The Maryland Farm Bureau agrees that the use of general obligation bonds and targeted areas for preserving open space and agricultural land in the Rural Legacy Program proposal has some validity. However, we also believe it is critical to increase funding for the Maryland Agricultural Preservation program, a program noted as one of the best in the nation.

Maryland ag land preservation's track record, together with the personnel and structure has already established, make it the best candidate to efficiently use these additional funds the governor is requesting to protect natural resources.

Preserving farmland provides needed benefits to the community, prevents development, allows the land to continue generating taxes for state and local governments, and protects and perpetuates the farming economy and its contributions to the region and state.

In addition, farmland preservation provides open space and continues to protect this resource for the future without creating additional tax burdens, like "fee simple" purchases of land.

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