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Letters to the editor - 1/8/03

January 08, 2003

The trouble(s) with property taxes



To the editor:


It was with amusement that I received and read the notice of tax assessment which was sent to me this past week.

As I pondered the proposed $20,000 increase in my assessed valuation, I reflected upon the fact that the original investment I made in my home was $44,000. Albeit that the latest $20,000 increase was a mere 10 percent over the current assessment, I still find it amusing.

It seems curious to me that I am now going to be paying about $2,500 a year in property taxes on the same house that I paid less than $500 on in 1980!

I believe that this represents a 500 percent increase in taxes!

My question is, where is my 500 percent increase in services?

We have this property tax system all wrong. To begin with, property taxes got started because they were about the only taxes that Americans paid. This was also at a time when in order to vote you had to own property. That was a good idea.

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Only shareholders in corporations are allowed to vote, so perhaps it would be good to return to our roots and allow only property owners to vote. If we did this I guarantee that we would not have these ridiculous tax increases.

Also it is ridiculous to ever increase assessment on property. A new tax basis is only created for income-tax purposes when property changes hands. This should be also true for property taxes. People buy what they can afford taxes on. It is not fair for government to increase taxes on property. Government is forcing people out of their homes.

In years past I have foolishly appealed my assessment. I will do so again. However, I know that it is a joke. They will listen politely and deny my request. The assessment office went out of its way to mention in the cover letter of my assessment that real estate taxes did not fund their department.

This is supposedly so they can be impartial. Last time I looked our government put all tax money in the bank and used it. I am quite certain that the pragmatic reality is that all tax money is comingled. If they need money they will take it from anywhere.

I am tired of the government pumping me. I work hard. I want to keep at least some of my money.

Between state and federal income taxes, social security taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, sales taxes, etc. I pay more than 50 percent of my income in tax. That is not fair and that is not right.

I want my property taxes reduced or I want someone to show me where I have received a 500 percent increase in government services.

I also want a fair hearing, I am tired of having my taxes jacked up because our government cannot or will not live within its means. When I overextend my budget I must work more or borrow more. I must be more productive. Our government needs to do the same. Government needs to limit itself to what we the people can afford for them to do. I do not have extra money to send them every time they wastefully run out of money.

Rod Pearson Sr.

Keedysville




War would be a dangerous thing



To the editor:


Gasoline prices have increased 15 cents per gallon in the last several weeks.

That is nothing compared to what will happen to oil prices if President Bush decides to go to war to change the regime in Iraq and gets control of that nation's oil reserves for his friends.

We will all pay the billions of dollars this war would cost, and some of us will lose loved ones.

It will also ensure the further deterioration of our reputation throughout the world as the leader for a better life.

This issue is vitally important to every American.

I hope you will contact the president's office to voice your opinion that there are other ways to protect us from "weapons of mass destruction."

Urge President Bush to use the money saved by not going to war to improve education for our people and to pursue alternate means of solving international problems.

I offer these comments as one who has worked in more than 20 countries during my life time and, as such, have had first-hand experience as to how Americans are misunderstood around the world.

Sam Ashelman

Berkeley Springs, W.Va.




Artist at Summitview



To the editor:


Beginning Jan. 2, Summitview Elementary of Waynesboro, Pa., will be hosting an artist-in-residence, thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and Summitview's parent-teacher organization. The artist-in-residence, Slim Harrison, will be working with all students from Kindergarten through sixth grade.

Harrison, of Sugartree Music and Multicultural Arts, is a specialist in American folk culture and music. A self-taught musician, Harrison accompanies himself on the fiddle and fiddlesticks, five-string banjo (fretted and fretless), guitar (acoustic and resophonic), Appalachian lap dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, autoharp, mouth bow, Jew's-harp and many other ethnic instruments.

Harrison has traveled through many rural areas of the United States and around the world, gathering songs, stories and most important, a feeling of kinship with the people often reflected in his songs.

He also has performed and conducted residencies for the many schools and organizations including the Partners of the Americas, the Maryland State Arts Council-Artists in Education and throughout the United States as a Master Artist with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts.

Summitview elementary students will work with Harrison throughout their school day from Jan. 2 through Jan. 15. During this time, Harrison will be guiding students in experiences with folk music, instruments and dances which reflect the Appalachian region.

The program will conclude with a "hoedown", in which Slim Harrison will lead students in sharing with family and interested community members the dances and music they learned during the residency.

The hoedown will be held at the Waynesboro Area Senior High auditorium on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.

Brenda Slick

Waynesboro, Pa.

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