Letters to the editor - 6/24/03

June 24, 2003

Rich get tax break, but vets still pay

To the editor:

During a week when the U.S. House voted to end the estate tax (and a month after eliminating the dividend tax), Republicans are closing ranks to ensure the Veterans Disability Tax stays in place.

The Veteran's Disability Tax works like this: Military retirees who are disabled because of service-connected injuries or illnesses pay the Veterans Disability Tax.

For every dollar they receive from the VA for their service-connected disability, they must forfeit a dollar of their retirement pay.


Year after year, Congress has introduced HR 303 and S392, legislation that would correct this unfair and unjust practice. The measures enjoy a supposedly overwhelming support from legislators. Last year 90 percent of the House and 80 percent of the Senate were co-sponsors of these legislative initiatives. Unfortunately, year after year, these bills die in committee.

This year, Rep. James Marshall, D-Ga, introduced a discharge petition to bring HR 303 to a vote. House Republican leadership has directed Republicans not to sign the petition. So far, it seems to be working - only one Republican has signed. Not even the bill's author, Florida's Rep. Mike Bilirakis, is willing to sign because of party pressures.

Speaker of the House J. Denis Hastert (who never served in the military), is sending strong messages to the Republican rank and file that anyone who signs Marshall's discharge petition will suffer. For over two weeks our representative in Congress, Roscoe Bartlett, has not responded to repeated requests for his intentions regarding the discharge petition, but I'll bet we can guess.

Those who have signed are proud to say so, those who won't don't answer their phone calls!

It seems as though the Republicans want to make sure the rich do not have to pay taxes on their dividends or vast estates, but that disabled veterans need to continue to pay taxes on their disabilities.

James D. Miller


Help give life to a cat

To the editor:

Each year thousands of abused, neglected and abandoned cats find themselves in dire need of a warm, caring home.

Since June is Adopt-a-Cat Month, I hope the plight of these animals will receive some extra attention in your paper. Each time a kitten is purchased in a shop, a chance is lost to save a cat in need of rescue from a life of suffering or even death. To adopt a feline friend turns a likely lifetime of tragedy into a lifetime of love and triumph.

Furthermore, making the choice to see oneself as an adopted cat's "guardian" rather than "owner" reminds each of us of the profound responsibility of taking on a new animal family member and encourages others to always adopt rather than purchase an animal companion.

By rescuing and adopting, and making sure to spay or neuter, we can make a dent in the overpopulation of dogs and cats that results in millions of animals being "put to sleep" each year.

To find a cat in your area that needs a home, visit, or contact your local humane society.

Lynn Collea-Price


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