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Letters to the Editor 2/4

February 05, 2002

Letters to the Editor 2/4



Tax law must be changed



To the editor:

Current Maryland tax law unfairly penalizes 65-year-old taxpayers because of a disparity that has increased each year in the personal exemption that can be claimed for Maryland residents at 65. Self-supporting taxpayers who are 65 or blind at any age can claim only the personal exemption amount allowable for that taxable year plus an additional $1,000.

For those at least 65 who are dependents of a taxpayer other than their spouse, however, the personal exemption for that year is doubled. The special exemption for taxpayers aged 65 or blind has remained frozen at $1,000 for several years. Meanwhile the personal exemption increased from $1,850 for 2000 to $2,100 for 2001. It is scheduled to rise to $2,400 per person for 2002.

At a combined tax rate of 7.35 percent for state income and "piggyback" taxes, for 2000 a 65 year old taxpayer was left liable for up to $62 in taxes from which a person claiming a 65 year old dependent was exempt.

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For 2001 this difference increases to $81. Unless corrective legislation is enacted in 2002, this disparity will jump to $103 for 2002. This unfair tax liability doubles, of course, for a taxpaying couple, both of whom are 65, compared to two dependents at 65.

Logic and simple fairness demand that the amount of a personal tax exemption based solely on reaching age 65 should be the same whether the person is the taxpayer or the dependent of another taxpayer. The Maryland Federation, National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE), has arranged to have legislation introduced in the 2002 General Assembly session to double the personal exemption for all Maryland residents who are 65 or blind.

All Marylanders who are interested in restoring tax equity should ask their state senator and state delegates to sponsor this legislation and Governor Glendening to support it.

Shirley Aurand
Smithsburg




Anthrax education is essential



To the editor:

I am writing in regard to the recent anthrax scare at a local post office. Several weeks ago I called the newspaper informing them of improper use of protective devices (gloves) used by the post office employees at Smithsburg. An article in The Daily Mail followed and a post office official made several excuses for the unacceptable training of the employees in the proper use of gloves.

The employee at the Smithsburg post office was wearing gloves while sorting the mail, but when she came to the front to wait on me and other patrons she failed to remove her gloves.

I made a comment to her about her actions but it didn't seem to make her aware of the possible outcome of her actions if anthrax had been on her gloves. Even though she was making an attempt to protect herself she was not protecting the public.

If anthrax had been on her gloves she could have readily transmitted it to me and the other patrons with her failure to remove her gloves and wash her hands.

Also noted was a lack of a sink to wash her hands in or a waterless antiseptic agent for her to use after removal of her gloves.

Presently the post office is on the front lines in the prevention of the spread of anthrax. Proper training and education of all post office employees no matter where the post office is located is essential. No excuses from any post office official is acceptable. To use the excuse the mail to Hagerstown doesn't travel through a post office with a history of anthrax eases the likelihood it won't happen here is unacceptable.

No one knows who is responsible for this anthrax scare or where or when the person may strike again. No one can let their guard down. Training and education is essential.

Marjorie Brake, RN
Hagerstown

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