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Letters to the Editor 4/12

April 11, 2001

Letters to the Editor 4/12



Budget vote wasn't meaningless



To the editor:

I take strong exception to Tim Rowland's recent column about my voting record in Annapolis. Rowland demonstrates his disregard for a fundamental freedom - the right of an individual to stand up for his or her beliefs.

My stance on Senate Bill 205, giving special rights to homosexuals to sue businesses, is opposed by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and is a matter of personal conscience for me. The bill is so radical that it does not allow people with objections based on their religious values an opportunity to be exempted from the legislation. I take this obligation to defend this constitutionally guaranteed right seriously, and in my view, the filibuster attempt was certainly justified.

Further, Rowland clearly demonstrates his lack of knowledge on the details of this year's state budget. Let's look at the facts.

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The $21.2 billion budget increases by a staggering $1.6 billion, or 8.4 percent, from last year. I'm fairly confident that the average income of a Washington County resident did not grow this fast over the last year. I've consistently opposed allowing the state government's budget to grow faster than the budget of most citizens in Maryland.

The Glendening-Townsend administration plans to spend $907 million more than it will collect. How do they do this, you might ask? By spending away the entire $375 million surplus and, more shockingly, by raiding $533 million in precious reserve funds.

This budget ignores the warning signs of the cooling economy. Gas prices are rising again, the stock market is down, and the national effects of the California energy crisis are looming on the horizon. Utilizing any reserve funds - especially when the state maintained a surplus - is unsound and irresponsible fiscal policy.

The state felt the painful fiscal reality of a recession in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, because of the governor's spending spree, any future fiscal crisis is self-inflicted.

To characterize a vote against this budget as "meaningless" is an endorsement for major tax increases, significant program cuts that will hurt the citizens of Washington County, or both.

It is an honor to stand up for Washington County in support of fiscally conservative policies and traditional Judeo-Christian values.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney

Frederick, Md.

Flag bill unnecessary



To the editor:

The letter by Harry A. Fike on the proposed flag amendment (April 6 issue) was excellent. I'd like to add a bit of information about flag burning from a booklet "How to Respect and Display Our Flag," published by the U.S. Marine Corps. The quotation is on the next-to-last page; it has no pagination:

"When the flag is in such a condition, through wear or damage, that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."

Burning an object - the flag in this instance - can show either respect or disrespect for it; it depends on circumstances.

The Federal Flag Protection Act, passed in 1989, was declared unconstitutional in 1990. Freedom of expression was deemed more important than protecting a national symbol.

Whether or not one agrees with Fike on all of what he wrote (I do), disrespect of the flag shows more about the one who shows the lack of respect than it does to our national emblem.

The fellow who hit the Liberty Bell with a hammer the other day evidently did little damage - a few chips - to the bell and what it stands for. But an armless person could count with his fingers how many adherents the hammer wielder won to his cause.

We have too many laws already. There ought not be a law or amendment. Mr. Bumble was close to the truth: "The law is a ass."

Eugene Lincoln

Hagerstown

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