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What Do You Think?

May 13, 2007

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of edited reader comments will run in The Herald-Mail.

This week' poll question was: Should the Washington County Commissioners or Hagerstown City Council give monetary support to a church organization's efforts to settle immigrants in the area?

"If the churches can't take care of all the people they are bringing here then they should either cut back their program or squeeze more money out of their church members. Taxes are paid involuntarily in order to maintain government services, not to provide charity."

"We didn't choose to have them brought here. Why should our tax dollars be given to them? We have enough groups and individuals here that could use humanitarian assistance! The church has a lot of nerve even asking."

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"We're overcrowded, our schools are overcrowded and we have a hard enough time finding jobs for those of us who are already residents. Why make it harder on us? I'm tired of immigrants and illegal aliens getting first-class treatment while taxpayers are treated like dirt."

"I don't live in Hagerstown, so I don't care what the City Council does. The Commissioners have correctly refused to give away the county's money to support these legal immigrants. The Commissioners should also determine whether or not the county residents want these legal immigrants to stay here, whether or not we want more legal immigrants to come here, and what the heck are they going to do to stop legal and illegal immigrants from coming here. Let's act sometime instead of reacting all the time."

"It would set a standard that we can't afford. Washington County is fast becoming like all the big city counties - a refuge. If they want to move here and enjoy the benefits of Washington County life, that's great. Let them do it the same way I did - pay their own way."

"I would think it would be a constitutional issue - providing tax dollars to sustain a program run by a religious organization. But, even if it wasn't run by a religious group, they really need to be more self-sufficient in order to be an effective program for these people. Maybe they should buy up some of these decrepit buildings in town and use them as refugee housing. Put them up there until they have jobs and can get a place on their own. Seems to me that if you're going to be of any help to these people, you need to have a plan in place before you bring them here."

"The churches have traditionally provided for people in need independent of the federal government. This has been a historical and accepted role of churches regardless of their religion. And I have no confidence that Washington County government or the City of Hagerstown can do anything right. Remember First Urban Fiber, the roundhouse museum, and the water and sewer debt?"

"HMMM ... From living in refugee camps in Thailand facing political, ethnic and religious persecution back on the home front ... along comes George H. Miller and his minions proclaiming: THE GOOD OLE U.S.A. will pay to resettle in the land of MILK and HONEY ... you don't have to ask what the meaning of SETTLE is, do ya?"

"If the government agencies and the churches have so much money to throw away, why don't they go to the underprivileged down in the mountains of West Virginia and Kentucky and feed and clothe the true Americans who truly are in dire need. Charity begins at home."

"From the early settlers to today, churches have supported immigrants, and with the exception of the colonial days when there were state churches, no tax dollars were needed for this support. We remain able to give such support directly to these churches and our tax dollars must be spent for nonchurch works."

"It is interesting that nonprofits that do not pay taxes increase the burden on the taxpayer. It's simple! Eliminate nonprofit status, and everyone pay their fair share of taxes. Why are religious organizations allowed a tax-free business?"

"Wow, an issue where it seems like everyone agrees on!"

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