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Letters to the editor

March 19, 2004

J. Munson is right; put runway on ballot


To the editor:

Washington County Commissioner John Munson may have finally made a valid point regarding the expansion of the runway at the airport: Put it to a vote to see what the voters want.

We will hear from Mr. Snook about the greater good, however I suggest Mr. Snook, Mr. Kercheval and Ms. Nipps try to drive Maugans Avenue, Eastern Boulevard and Edgewood Drive at rush hour to determine a real need.

As for awarding the bid to a local contractor, I feel confident Mr. Hetzer would gladly bid these projects, and keep local people working.

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The suggestion to talk to the airport people to hear their views is without merit as all their thoughts are self-serving. Sewer projects, road improvements and education sure seem to be a little more important than the expansion of the runway.

Jim Colombo
Hagerstown




A tax on toilets to clean up the bay?


To the editor:

The inventor of the flush toilet, Thomas Crapper, could never have visualized the fallout (no pun intended) when he did so. Enter the wily politician. Not only have they managed to charge us for our auto emissions, they now want to do the same with our personal ones. Under the guise of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, you will be required to pay by the gallon to have your septic tank pumped. How low can you go? Only a politician could come up with such a devious scheme.

It can only get worse. Our city fathers could hire a consulting firm to follow the paper chase just to make sure it reaches its intended destination. There could be a discrimination claim made here. While you city dwellers can emit directly into the sewer system, we suburbanites have to have ours trucked overland. Can you just see one of these trucks overturned while trying to avoid a deer on Eastern Boulevard?

You might, as a Maryland resident, ask what these pinheads plan to do about those residents in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Robert McNamee
Hagerstown




Support tax break for seniors


To the editor:

In Maryland, if you are a taxpayer over age 65, you can claim a personal exemption of $1,000 when you file your Maryland income tax form. However, if you are over 65 and someone can claim you as a dependent, the amount goes up to $2,400. The difference is worth about $110.

That would help pay some of the rising costs of medical care. Why do two elderly persons get personal exemptions that are worth different amounts?

The short answer is, it was due to an oversight when the 1997 tax reduction bill was put together in the waning hours of the General Assembly.

Del. Michael Gordon, D-17, has introduced a bill, HB 834, that would make the personal exemption for elderly taxpayers (and the blind) the same as it is for elderly dependents. Because it would not start until 2005, it does not impact the budget now being considered.

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on this bill, today (Friday) and on the following Wednesday, March 24, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee will have a hearing on the counterpart bill, SB 435, introduced by Sen. Donald Munson, R-2.

If you are an elderly taxpayer, contact your legislators and let them know of your interest.

Shirley Aurand
Smithsburg

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