Letters to the editor

May 28, 2006

Tax unfairly punishes county's new homebuyers

To the editor:

Thanks to Jim Laird for correcting my error in a May 7 op-ed questioning Washington County's excise tax. I argued that the tax violates the longstanding principle that county residents fairly share the cost of public schools-and many other public goods, for that matter. The tax, I wrote, unjustifiably imposes a heavy burden on people who recently bought or sold their homes, while passing over people who stay put in their current homes.

Laird points out that the excise tax falls only on new housing; I was wrong to say the excise tax falls on all housing transfers. I mistakenly conflated the county's excise tax with its transfer tax.

Interestingly, Laird's correction further underscores the excise tax's unfairness. Why should the county put a giant, special tax on new housing, but not existing housing? Why should a young family buying a new home pay $13,000 to $31,000 in county taxes that they wouldn't pay if they bought an older house or stayed in the same house?


Why should an older couple who are downsizing pay $13,000 to $31,000 in taxes if they buy a new house instead of an older house or if they stay put? Why should tenants in a new apartment pay a hefty indirect tax that doesn't fall on tenants in an older apartment? Why should a senior who buys a new condo have to pay $13,000-31,000 in taxes if that condo isn't part of an officially designated "retirement community"?

Laird justifies this inequity by claiming new-home buyers should "be charged extra for the additional children they put into the system." I'm unclear what that means. Does he believe new-home purchasers pay no other county or state taxes to support local government services? Or does he acknowledge new-home buyers pay taxes like everyone else, but Laird believes kids who live in new homes use more school books and need more teacher supervision than other kids?

Or, more likely, does Laird simply reject the principle that county residents fairly share the cost of public schools and other public goods?

Thomas A. Firey
Arlington, Va.

U.S. letting Mexico pen our immigration policies

To the editor:

Several weeks ago, President Bush and his Canadian counterpart went to Mexico to see President Vicente Fox to discuss the immigration situation, among other things.

Although, I have not heard or seen anything, I suspect President Bush appointed President Fox the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Nationalization, since Fox and his government cronies have been dictating the U.S. immigration policies since Bush became president.

I was in Monclova, Mexico when Fox was touring the country, telling the Mexican people all the wonderful things he was going to do for Mexico.

Although he never said it, I am sure this included sending millions of the illegals into the United States. Eleven million to 20 million - don't ask Homeland Security where they are; they don't have the foggiest.

It takes a low-life government to tell their people how and where to cross the border, what to take along and what to do when they get here to avoid capture.

Then Bush and Fox have the audacity to call the "American Minutemen" trying to protect our borders "vigilantes."

An illegal is an illegal. Look it up. Illegal - prohibited by law; against the law.

Quit the spin on terms. They are not undocumented or guest workers, they are illegal law breakers.

I heard Ted Kennedy say his brother John (president) said we are a nation of immigrants. The statement should have included, we are a nation of law to protect we Americans from this "invasion." Eleven million to 20 million illegals is an invasion.

Bush and others claim that they only want the jobs U.S. citizens won't do. Baloney.

What about carpentry, masonry, electrical, plumbing and heavy equipment operators, to name a few. The people and corporations that hire these illegals for pennies so they can stuff their own pockets. I consider these people non-American "scum."

There should be stiff penalties for hiring illegals. Put the onus on the person or companies that hire them to make positive identification.

A large carpet-maker had some illegals working for the firm. Complaints from legitimate workers caused the company to discharge the illegals. Three days later, the same people were hired back, with different names and identifications.

The meat-packing industries that used to pay legal workers $19 per hour now pay $9 per hour to illegals. Have you seen any price reduction in meat when you buy it?

We in the United States try to take care of our less fortunate. Let Mexico do the same.

As an American "legal" citizen, I have the right to my opinion. Eighty-two years old, 11 years credited military service - World War II and Korea. I paid my taxes, worked until I was 81 and have gotten two unemployment checks since 1946. The first was for $20 (some may remember 52/20 during WWII), the second in the 1950s, for $30. When I was out of work, I took what was available, regardless of what had to be done.

I do not expect our elected officials to do anything to jeopardize their return to office in 2006. Maybe.

Edward P. Ford

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