Thursday, November 8, 2007
Letters to the Editor
Consider this a fan letter to your newspaper. It is a joy to get the paper and I enjoy the columns best of all.
The first one I read is “Close To Nowhere” by Linda Jones, because it pertains to things I know and love, ie: sewing, quilting, family and friends. I did not realize that we belonged to the same Oxford quilt guild when I first subscribed to the newspaper, and now it is even more entertaining!
The other one that pleases me is the one by Lois Swanee, which tickles me, with the old time recollections she writes about. I have sent in my check and plan to do the Holiday Homes Tour. Each of the homes she describes sounds so interesting.
And the dulcimer group that meets at the Marshall County Library on the second and fourth Thursday afternoons is such a joy to me. If I hadn’t been a subscriber, I would not have known about this group.
Forrest and Eileen Smith come from Booneville to teach us about this instrument, for free. It blows my mind that anyone would give so much of themselves and expect no payment. Their philosophy is beautiful -- “pass it on.”
My husband and I went to Mountain View, Ark. with this dulcimer group in October. It was wonderful to participate with other dulcimer players on the courthouse grounds and at the Jimmy Driftwood Theatre.
Your newspaper opened this door for me. Thank you.
Please, let me know when it’s time to pay the subscription again!
Response to letter:
Response to letter to the editor on animal control by Linda Column:
Her remark: “I will not say what district I reside in, but I have been here for five years. I have spoken to my supervisor once. Any calls I made to him thereafter went unanswered, or no return calls were made to me.”
You’re not the only one. I have lived here for 13 years. I have written twice on other matters and placed at least two phone calls. Not one response. Since my representative does not have electronic mail, and has not responded to my requests either in writing or phone calls (no answering machine), I believe he does not want contact from his constituents.
I’ll vote for anyone else, however, he didn’t have anyone run against him. Read between the lines.
Sales and cigarette taxes:
During the recent election campaign there was a lot of discussion concerning the lowering of the sales tax on groceries and replacing that lost revenue with a $1 a pack tax on cigarettes.
Gubernatorial candidate J.A. Eaves stated that he was in favor of this proposal, and most of his party’s candidates supported the measure as well.
This is a very, very bad idea. It is really just a smoke screen for a general tax increase. If you don’t already know why, I will tell you; but before that, I would like to discuss the merits of lowering the food tax and raising the cigarette tax. First, the food tax:
Mississippi does not need to have a seven percent tax on food. Mississippi does not need to have any tax on food. The reason there is a tax on food is because our legislature wants to spend the revenue from the food tax. In an expanding economy, every year’s revenue will exceed that of the previous year. If the legislature can resist the temptation to increase its spending every year, the sales tax can be reduced each year with some of that increased revenue.
If the tax were reduced one percent per year, in seven years there would be no sales tax on groceries. That is the solution to the grocery tax problem. How long have politicians been talking about getting rid of the sales tax on food? If they had done what I just proposed instead of talk, the sales tax would have been gone long ago.
Since municipalities get revenue from the food tax, some substitute source of income would have to be found for funding our cities and towns, but that is also the case with the present proposal to fund the cut with a cigarette tax. It is time now to discuss the merits of the cigarette tax:
The proposal being put forth calls for a three and one-half percent reduction in the grocery tax to be paid for by an additional tax of $1 on each package of cigarettes sold in the state.
Approximately 40 percent of people below the poverty line smoke. Approximately 20 percent of the people above the poverty line smoke. Who will be paying this tax? Funding a decrease in the grocery tax with an increase in the cigarette tax will shift the tax burden from the general population (everyone eats) to the poor (who make up the bulk of the smoking population).
It will be even worse if the Democrats at the federal level get their way with their ill advised extension of the SCHIP health insurance program to the middle class. They plan to fund that with another 61 cents a pack on cigarettes. If both these disasters become law, we will have saddled the poor with an additional $1.61 of tax for each package of cigarettes they purchase.
In an effort to make this proposal more palatable, its proponents have wrapped it in a mantle of feel-good public health piety: “It will help people quit,” they say. I’m sorry, but they cannot have it both ways. Either the number of smokers will continue to be sufficient to carry the burden dropped by the food tax, or they will quit smoking and the cigarette tax will not be sufficient.
If the tax burden were shifted from food to cigarettes, the present sale of tobacco would be just barely sufficient to make up for the lost food tax revenue. Many of our heaviest smokers are elderly. These older smokers are going to die (very soon if the anti-smoking folks have it right). Every dead smoker is going to represent a $1 to $3 per day tax shortfall. Where is that lost revenue going to be made up? Will we recruit enough one to three pack a day high school smokers to replace the lost revenue, or will we have to look elsewhere for tax money?
It is submitted that the proposal to shift the tax from food to cigarettes is simply a clandestine tax increase. Most people these days do not smoke and are inclined to be satisfied with any tax that is going to be paid by someone else. This tax will be paid by someone else (the poor who smoke) at first, but will very quickly result in a tax on everyone as the number of smokers continues to decline.
If we don’t want a tax on groceries, we don’t have to have one. We just need to tell our legislators to exercise a little fiscal responsibility and use some of their increased revenue from the expanding economy to reduce the grocery tax instead of finding some new program on which to spend the money.
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