Income tax, stability right for Nebraska
Stability is a virtue that is held dear by many Nebraskans.
Steady, reasonable decision-making, such as that displayed by the Legislature when it rejected the rushed and risky idea to get rid of the income tax in favor of comprehensive study of the state’s tax code, is the Nebraska way of doing things.
Nebraska should keep the income tax, which is a fairer tax than many. As one benefits from hard work and the spoils of the economy and sees his or her income grow, then his or her piece of paying for it all should grow as well.
Nebraskans also want stability in fiscal matters. We want steady and stable revenue to support our schools, roads and communities. With its study, the Legislature took steps toward ensuring good, sound decisions regarding the state’s taxes and the revenue they generate.
This reasonable approach should bring comfort to Nebraska residents because it’s how we like to do things in Nebraska.
Maryanne Rouse, Omaha
High land prices bite back at tax time
Property tax relief was a main topic of discussion heard by state lawmakers at the Tax Modernization Committee meeting in Omaha (Oct. 18 World-Herald).
The Farm Bureau was especially critical of high property taxes paid by farmers and ranchers. Much of the blame can be attributed to those paying $5,000 to $10,000 an acre for farmland and failing to consider the consequences. In the process, this also increased the valuations of land that cost much less.
These high prices, along with the apparent wealth in agriculture, could possibly make tax relief harder to come by for landowners.
Joe Reestman, Oakdale, Neb.
Another note about Air Force band
The Oct. 20 World-Herald article, “Budget cuts cue ‘Silent Night’ for Air Force band’s holiday tradition,” accurately reported the substance of my 2011 amendment to cut military-bands spending from $388 million to $200 million. That amendment did pass the House but didn’t result in cuts to military bands, because it was left out of the final defense bill.
The reason for this concert’s cancellation is the sequestration cuts to federal spending.
Sequestration hurts millions of Americans, not just military bands. Tens of thousands of low-income children have been cut from Head Start, grants for critical scientific research have been eliminated, and health care on Indian reservations has been reduced. Sequestration is also having a devastating impact on military readiness, operations and modernization.
While I oppose sequestration’s indiscriminate cuts to the federal budget, I do support setting priorities and making smart cuts, such as reducing spending on military bands.
Cutting investments in children, scientific research and health care are not smart cuts. Congress has misplaced priorities when the Pentagon can spend nearly $400 million a year to fund 148 military bands and thousands of full-time musicians.
Betty McCollum, St. Paul, Minn.
U.S. House representative, D-Minn.
House GOP, not Park Service, is to blame
An Oct. 15 World-Herald editorial, “Park Service put in unfair position,” cast blame for closing the federal parks on “irresponsible directives from Washington.”
Remember who shut down the government and why: Right-wing Republicans shut down the government to force curtailment of services. This was meant to put the squeeze on Americans.
Responsible Park Service employees have no authority to spend money they don’t have on anything nonessential, and they must above all else protect these national treasures for us. The truly “irresponsible directive from Washington” to park managers would have been to selectively open parks to some preferred visitors. It would have been irresponsible to fail to protect the parks and memorials from damage and vandalism. Hence Park Service staff locked the gates and put up barricades.
House Republicans knew there would be real harm done to Americans by the shutdown. They expected that the administration would pay the ransom rather than see Americans suffer needlessly. That was the strategy.
The president did not cause the shutdown, and our Park Service acted responsibly to save taxpayer dollars and preserve our nation’s valuable assets. The entire country was put in an unfair position by the House Republicans.
Jim Boucher, Valley, Neb.
McCoy, Terry are outdated on ecology
I see that my state senator, Beau McCoy, doesn’t “subscribe to global warming” (Oct. 24 World-Herald) and that my congressman, Lee Terry, is still trying to push a pipeline of filthy oil through our state.
People who “subscribe” to science and rely on their personal observations can see that the ecology of our state, country and planet needs intentional protection.
We don’t need to be represented by dinosaurs.
Cheryl Nelson, Omaha
Blame Ben Nelson for Obamacare
A “thank you” to Ben Nelson for his 60th vote that allowed the Affordable Care Act to become law. I wonder if the former senator is proud of the train wreck he voted for — against the will of many citizens of Nebraska?
Robert Mahoney, Omaha
Prisons are crowded for a reason
Again we bring in a “think tank” to look at the ways to reduce overcrowding and why Nebraska’s prison population has risen to about 51 percent over capacity.
The latter question is easy: More people are breaking the law, and prison is where criminals belong.
But let’s make it look like we are finally going to take some action this time around. I, for one, would start supervising the people who are supposed to do their job. I have owned and operated a halfway house for 15 years and would love to sit down with these senators who want to look good and these think-tank people.
I can tell you why our present system doesn’t work: Ex-convicts on parole know that, because of the overcrowding, they can pretty much do what they want. They have no fear of being sent back to prison. Those who supervise parolees are overwhelmed with people who should never have been released in the first place.
If the prison administration would do its job — stop worrying about annual leave, vacation time and sick days accrued, and instead make sure these people are ready to be returned to society — then I don’t care if it costs me a few more tax dollars to make my neighborhood feel safe.
Dave Foral, Omaha
Keep a full hospital in east Omaha
The importance of a comprehensive, physical presence by Alegent Creighton Health in east Omaha cannot be overstated. Both hospital systems began with a mission to serve the poor and immigrants where they work and live. To withdraw from that area would speak in ways more powerful than any public-relations spin could twist. Make no mistake, the community would suffer.
The most marginalized and vulnerable of our community — the working poor, minorities, homeless and refugees — are still concentrated in east Omaha. That is where one would think, given the mission, that Alegent Creighton would have its biggest presence, not the least presence or a token one.
I in no way want to minimize the importance of the Creighton trauma expertise and facility. But to leave that as the primary presence sends a thinly veiled but ugly message. It says that east Omaha is primarily about crime and violence and that “they” matter less than west Omaha.
Alegent Creighton has the opportunity to say it is more than that, and more importantly, that it walks the walk and demonstrates that belief as a living presence in that community that the marginalized are not “other,” that we are all one community. Health disparity due to location, income, language, age, ethnicity or race is unacceptable.
Rachel Dowd, Omaha
Anonymous gift warms a mom’s heart
To the anonymous donor of a gift card Oct. 24 at Famous Dave’s, 120th and L Streets:
Thank you for your kindness to the young man dining with his housemates and staff from a residential home for young men with special needs. It warms my heart that there are people like you who pay attention to this population.
Your kindness was a God kiss, to them and to me, the young man’s mom.
Lori Rinehart, Omaha