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Letters to the editor

October 07, 2003

Retirement under attack


To the editor:

If they don't repay the trust fund now and wait until the huge baby boom generation starts drawing Social Security in a few years, our benefits will be at risk as never before. Congress will have three options to rely on.

They are massive tax increases, massive benefit cuts or increase taxes and cut benefits. Despite the risk to all of us Social Security recipients, they keep looting the trust fund and putting in more paper IOU's. This money was put in there to pay our benefits and for future retirees.

Seniors, voters and working people are concerned about the future of Social Security. Congress' spending binges have put Social Security on a collision course with bankruptcy. So far Congress has helped seniors very little. The Lockbox Law was passed by the House but not the Senate. This law would provide security for our reserves.

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For more than 19 years, seniors have been receiving COLAs that do not fairly match the increased cost of living. From Dec. 31, 1982 through Sept. 30, 2002, seniors' cost of living increased 16.3 percent more than their COLA. Congress raised Medicare Part B premiums went up by 17 percent in the last two years. In January of next year, Medicare premiums will rise by another 12 percent.

Then our Medicare supplement insurance will go up. There has got to be a stop to the way they are treating senior citizens. We must keep increasing the pressure on Congress to do the right thing and repay the trust fund and stop using it for their day-to-day operations and pork barrel projects to get elected again. They owe $1 trillion already. We need to have the Lock Box law passed, so that they can't get anymore money from our reserves.

We need a larger and fairer annual Social Security COLA to keep up with the actual costs of living each year. Congress members already gave themselves a raise for next year.

Anna L. Burker
Sharpsburg




Who's a developer?


To the editor:

Regarding your Friday Oct. 3 piece on impact fees (Officials weigh in on impact fee debate) I will not try to make a case on the merits or pitfalls of the impact fees, but rather the wording and definition of the word "developer." I can best explain this by relaying a family member' situation.

His family moved to Frederick County, Md., in 1965 to work for the local defense industry. They bought a house in town and a couple of years later bought a lot in the mountains to build their retirement home on.

For 35 years they paid taxes on both parcels in addition to supporting the county by doing day-to-day business here.

Last year they have saved enough through hard work, to build on their "retirement lot." Imagine their surprise when went to obtain the permits to build a single-family home and informed that they are developers!

Yes, in Frederick County a private homeowner who wants to build a house on a lot that they own is exactly the same, under the terms of the impact fee, as the big name company that wants to build a Planned Unit Development with 1,000 homes

I would suggest that Jefferson County residents sound off loudly about your individual property rights before you think the impact fee will only affect the big developers. Be careful what you wish for.

Dan Trey
Thurmont, Md.




First, take care of the poor


To the editor:

Please come out and show your support for the REACH Cold Weather Shelter for the Homeless, by attending the public hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at Hagerstown City Hall, Council Chambers, 1 E. Franklin Street.

The new zoning ordinance text amendments could close the Cold Weather Shelter for the Homeless. Please show your support by attending and/or speaking for the good works that REACH's Faith Community Caregivers have done over the last seven years in our community through the Cold Weather Shelter.

The REACH Cold Weather Shelter served 376 different individuals this past season with an average stay of 16 nights per person and an average of 38 guests per night (there were more than 2,400 homeless individuals in Washington County last year that were served by the six different shelters and service providers in Washington County).

Although the shelter operates during our county's coldest months from the last Sunday in October through the first Sunday in April, REACH is a year-round operation serving the homeless, disabled, families and individuals in need, and the elderly of our community. REACH operates these vital community efforts on a bare-bones budget with two full-time staff persons and over 500 volunteers. This issue is much larger than just services for the homeless. It is about the disadvantaged in our community, who could be any of our friends or family members if they have experienced a mental illness, substance-abuse addiction or series of unplanned life events that left them down and out.

People should not be criminalized or face injustice as a result of their housing status. People should have the right to vote regardless of housing status.

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