Mileage tax won't catch all road users

To the editor:

One of the biggest flaws of the proposed vehicle mileage tax plan (Wednesday editorial) is that it will not capture any taxes from our tourists and part-time residents. If taxes are no longer paid at the pump, the thousands of cars and RVs that drive here from California, Utah and Arizona weekly and fill up before returning home will not pay taxes. Yet, they are users of our highways that need to be maintained.

Likewise, we will no longer receive any revenue from part-time residents who stay here during the winter months.

Why should the financial burden to maintain roads fall strictly on Nevadans when truckers, tourists and snowbirds also use our public highways? If you need to raise revenue to support our infrastructure, it would be better to raise the gasoline taxes at the pump. It is a fair method that would tax people on their usage. The person who does a lot of driving will have to fill up more often and will pay more taxes than someone who travels less.

Heavier vehicles such as trucks and RVs that wear down our roads have larger tanks and will pay more in taxes at each fill-up. Of course, there is also the issue of privacy, but my biggest concern is the inequity of taxation and the reduction in revenue.

Mary Smith

Las vegas

Forced in

To the editor:

A recent letter to the editor calls those of us "hypocrites" for opposing the health care bill while we "enjoy" the "benefits" of Social Security and Medicare.

Well, I was never consulted as to whether or not I wanted either program (were you?), and all of my working life I was forced by law to involuntarily have my wages reduced by ever-increasing taxes taken to support them. I paid into the Social Security "trust fund" (systematically looted by politicians) from the time I got my first job at age 13 and into the Medicare program since its inception in 1965.

I made no promise nor any commitment to the government; the government made a promise and a commitment to me.

Upon becoming "eligible" for Medicare parts A and B, I had my Social Security monthly "benefit" reduced by a premium that, by now, is almost $100 per month. In addition, there is a $100 annual deductible that must be met in order to receive any "benefits" under Part B. Medicare is not my primary insurer, as I have private coverage as well, and most years I do not get close to the $100 deductible.

In the one or two years I did meet the deductible, Medicare fought tooth and nail not to pay the $18 co-pay, and after months of procrastinating, they finally did pay.

Thanks for tainting my credit record and for the aggravation caused, Medicare bureaucrats.

So here's my idea, Uncle Sam: You keep your Medicare. I'll keep my hundred bucks a month, my private insurance and I'll pay my own deductibles -- on time and in full.

Jerry Fink

Las Vegas

Long list

To the editor:

In response to the Wednesday letter from Wilson J. Matos, in which he says the county or the state should suspend the rights of those companies that advertise with leaflets on the Strip because they cause litter:

Even if the state or the county could implement a law that passed constitutional muster, we would have to stop parks officials from handing out leaflets for their attractions, as they would fall under the same ruling, correct?

Also, churches would not be allowed to pass out their weekly bulletins -- same reasoning. Just think how long the list would get of things we could ban. The list is endless.

No one could hand out anything you did not specifically ask for, and not even then if anyone else objected to it. Talk about your unintended consequences.

Harvey D. Talbert

Las Vegas

Green jobs

To the editor:

UNLV and the entire state of Nevada face serious budget problems, and we understand that every decision on program cuts is neither pleasant nor taken lightly. However, we feel the proposed elimination of the landscape architecture program is a mistake.

Nevada must encourage locally trained green jobs like landscape architects in order to attract investment and create a diversified, sustainable economy and environment. In fact, Nevada requires professionally trained landscape architects more than ever.

The Silver State faces severe environmental issues that will only increase with the growing population. The Southern Nevada Water Authority describes the Colorado River system as facing the worst drought ever recorded. The loss of the UNLV program would make Nevada the only state in the Southwest without a landscape architecture program.

Instead of attracting future landscape architects, Nevada will face a brain drain of the very professionals the state needs to address record drought, wetland restoration, wildfire prevention and other critical problems.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects landscape architecture jobs to grow by 20 percent by 2018, twice the national average, making it one of the fastest-growing professions in the country. The country needs more landscape architects, but where will they go if not UNLV?

Few professions can address so many critical problems facing the state, but without it UNLV students will be left with few choices -- except to leave.

Amie Wojtech

Las Vegas

The writer is president of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Nevada chapter.