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If we’re going to raise taxes, spend on schools

To the editor:

It is obvious that our state is facing a huge budget shortfall (“Budget shortfall looking worse,” Thursday Review-Journal). There is less money available for many of the public services offered to citizens, including both public safety and education.

In the area of education, teachers, administrators and staff are facing the possibility of a 6 percent salary decrease, plus a huge cut in finances available to actually provide a quality education to the students of our state. Statistics show that the higher level of education children attain, the less likely they are to be involved in criminal behavior.

At the same time, the local police departments are demanding that the Clark County sales tax rate be increased again to put more cops on the streets (“Police chiefs pitch sales tax increase,” Wednesday Review-Journal).

This doesn’t make sense. Yes, the added numbers of police officers have caused the crime levels to drop, but why not apply this lesson to education? If we did this, maybe we wouldn’t need more police and larger local and state detention centers because more students would be graduating and going on to higher education, and fewer would require the services of law enforcement.

Jodi Brant


Spread the wealth

To the editor:

“Casinos can’t make payments,” “Revenue drops 19 percent,” “Race and sport book closes,” “Casino stocks continue to drop,” “Police chiefs pitch sales tax increase.” These were front-page headlines for Wednesday’s Review-Journal.

A measure to increase Clark County’s sales tax to hire more police barely passed in 2004, and on Wednesday we read that the three local police chiefs were in Carson City requesting the second half of the hike: another quarter-percentage-point. All three spoke of the plummeting crime rate and implied that if the Legislature does not approve the rest of the 2004 increase, crime statistics may reverse course.

Blackmail? Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie told lawmakers that Metro has a $140 million sales tax reserve. Meanwhile, the Henderson and North Las Vegas police departments claim they can’t fill vacancies because of shortfalls in projected sales tax revenues.

Unless governed by law, maybe Sheriff Gillespie and Metro should donate $20 million or $30 million to both the Henderson and North Las Vegas police departments to offset their shortfalls. Their collective request to secure the additional sales tax monies comes at a time when the Legislature is considering ways to increase taxes on all Nevadans.

David R. Seyler


Hostile takeover

To the editor:

Your Wednesday editorial “First the banks, now the automakers” aptly points out my concern with the direction the Obama administration is taking. The reference to the new “Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers” would more aptly be called the “Commissar of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers.” Shades of the defunct Soviet Union. “Communities and Workers”? What about the manufacturers and owners?

Is there anyone in this administration who has any idea how to run and operate a sophisticated manufacturing concern or business? What will the administration do about the next industry it decides to take over? Are Americans ready to have their lives and businesses run and directed by lifelong politicians and academics with no real-world experience?

Everyone in Washington needs to wake up, look themselves in the mirror and try to see what they are doing to this country.

My first vote in a presidential election was in 1956. I have seen many presidents, some good, some bad, but none of them ever tried to direct the country away from its strengths and founding principles like the current resident of the White House.

Loren E. Terzich


Near-sighted politicians

To the editor:

How can we expect a profit-and-loss business to be managed properly if it gets to keep all the profit but Uncle Sam underwrites all its accumulated loss, perhaps including a final rip-off of its capitalization? Doesn’t this simply validate and institutionalize the AIG conditions of alleged mismanagement? Further, doesn’t this aid and abet a monopoly, since the benefit of walking away from failure essentially unscathed may be denied other would-be competitors because of insufficient political muscle?

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s plan is premised on a never-ending need and an “overriding political right” (apparently trumping the Constitution) to prevent business failure in the name of the people. Perhaps he would like to start a privately funded insurance company to bail out business failures using the same set of ground rules, but I doubt it. The long and short of it is that these schemes are always to be funded by an unheard, unseen, forcibly compliant taxpayer.

Certainly the government must ensure that monopolistic practices do not threaten a healthy and ethical competitive market. Beyond that, history has repeatedly demonstrated that it is highly misguided to impose politically inspired methods on a market that provides all the nation’s welfare. Particularly damaging is interference in self-correcting forces. Results from that sort of long-term government meddling lie all around us in the present economic debacle.

No truly stable and competitive market can long survive when the specter of bankruptcy is removed from the minds of business leaders by a near-sighted government.



Overtime costs

To the editor:

About once a year, there’s an article about overtime excesses in one of our public functions and the fact that a high percentage of those employed make somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 a year. The argument put forward each year by the public employees and their defenders is that overtime costs taxpayers less than hiring more employees (“Overtime sending budgets up in flames,” Sunday Review-Journal).

If that’s true, why don’t we reduce the existing staff, pay even more overtime and save even more money?

Of course, with our high unemployment rate, wouldn’t it perhaps be more humanitarian to reduce the overtime and hire some of the unemployed? Especially when you consider the big picture costs of the unemployed?

I guess that makes too much sense. We certainly don’t have any public officials with the courage to do so.

I will look forward to next year’s article on the same subject.

Nick Aquilina


Past injustice

To the editor:

I followed the trial of Steven Murray for the killing of one woman and the maiming of another. He was found guilty of driving under the influence of prescription drugs in plowing over a bus stop shelter (Tuesday Review-Journal) and will be sentenced later.

It infuriates me that Veronica Schmidt, after killing four people at a bus stop in 2005, served 180 days in jail and did not even complete her community service.

Schmidt had prescription Xanax in her system. Murray had prescription Valium and Percocet in his system. Schmidt faced only misdemeanor charges from the city of Las Vegas. How can a person who took four young lives be treated so much differently than Murray?

I feel very bad for all involved in the Murray case. He is getting what he deserves. But why and how did Veronica Schmidt not get duly prosecuted for what she did, as Murray has?

Evelyn Bigler


Union failures

To the editor:

Show me a strong union, and I will show you a dying or dead industry. Automakers are now in the news, but what about TV sets, computers, telephones, steel, apparel, the postal service, ship building and many others?

Education in this country has fallen dead under the leadership of teacher unions. Our “graduates” are illiterate and know nothing about history or geography. They are full of self-esteem yet scornful of Western civilization, full of environmentalist-socialist garbage and ready to join street demonstrations against greedy capitalists, and are ready recruits for our tenured radicals in the universities, where all support the suppression of free speech under the ukases of political correctness.

Marc Jeric


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