Email letters, August 1, 2013

Oil, gas industry thrives while taxpayers lose out on millions

In her July 31 letter, Colorado State Education Board Vice-Chairman Marcia Neal attempts to school us on energy extraction, the environment, EPA regulations and educational funding, by using intimidation and misinformation as her lesson plan. Is she speaking on behalf of the education board, or is she simply offering repayment in words to her former campaign contributors?

During her election campaign, Neal quoted this from Thomas Edison: “We cannot solve our problems by using the same thinking we used to create them.” Of all people, I’d expect a Western Slope history teacher to be well versed on the negative implications of the boom-and-bust economic
roller coaster. Yet, this is precisely what Neal seems to be advocating for – which is more of the same. Business-as-usual.

However, if Neal were sincere in her quest for increased school funding, she would fight to restructure Colorado’s archaic severance tax system in order to align us with neighboring states. After all, our friends in Wyoming
collect severance taxes at a rate nearly twice that of Colorado’s. As a result, we’ve left billions on the table.

She would also fight to eliminate the tens of billions in annual tax subsidies and credits, royalty relief, etc. enjoyed by the otherwise profitable oil and gas industry.

And, she would support the senators challenging the Department of Interior to modernize our coal-royalty program. Because of intentional underreporting
and undervaluation of publicly owned coal, along with agency ineptitude, American taxpayers lose out on millions of royalty dollars each and every year.

Suddenly - found - several hundred million dollars a year that we should extract from the extraction industries operating in Colorado. Millions of dollars to put toward educational programs, infrastructure improvements, environmental enhancement and all those things necessary for a “vibrant economy” to function in the first place.

JAMES ARMSTRONG

Grand Junction

Mother puma should not be faulted for natural instincts

I read the recent Sentinel article on the mother puma and her two kittens. I don’t know how other people might weigh in on this, but I wonder if the authorities are approaching the issue the right way. Aren’t ranchers required to take some steps to safeguard the living creatures in their care, custody and control?  (Safeguard them, that is, until the ranchers send them to market to be slaughtered for the ranchers’ own profits.)

I don’t think we can fault a wild cat for doing what she is programmed to do. I mean, what are our expectations ... that the mother cat will teach her kits how to shop at City Market?

I hope that the people who are trying to address this issue will explore other, fairer options than killing three animals that are pretty blameless in this scenario.

LINDA JENKS

Rifle

Conservatives surprisingly quiet over City Council’s decision to appoint

In my previous letter to the editor, I expressed my disappointment with the Grand Junction City Council’s decision to appoint councilors as opposed to free and fair elections.

What I do not hear is the conservative outrage. Where is the “legalize freedom” bunch? Where is the tea party? Why are Republicans who want to protect our freedom not marching in the streets?

This is proof that these groups are full of it. They don’t care about freedom. Or liberty. They care about winning. That’s it. So, when we hear from one of these talking heads, remember, it’s all about winning. Not freedom. Not liberty. Winning. That is all that matters. Not the will of the people. Winning.

From this day forward I will do my best to boycott members of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce member businesses. I realize I live in a 75 percent Republican community. How many small businesses in this community, however, could survive with a 25 percent reduction in cash flow?

The minority has power. We just need to use it.

JOHN A. IJAMS

Grand Junction

Don’t quickly judge handicapped people with service dogs

I want to point out that unfortunately in Grand Junction people seem to think that handicapped people who need service dogs want to make people upset and angry.

Well, it’s not like we went to Walmart on a blue light special and bought epilepsy or blindness or any kind of handicap-special so we can bring dogs into stores or restaurants with us to make you unhappy. Gives us a break.

Try to put yourself in our place for just a day and understand we didn’t ask to be this way, but we need the dogs with us to have a little independence to shop or even get out of our house. Back off a bit and be nice.

My dog is totally vested. There is no law saying this is a must, but he is. So, before you yell at me, look first.

LISA WATKINS

Grand Junction

Election advisory committee must be apprised of barriers for independents

The recently appointed Presidential Commission on Election Administration has begun holding public hearings around the country. This 10-member body is tasked with presenting recommendations to the president about how to “improve all citizens’ voting experience.” 

Independent/unaffiliated voters have a lot to say on this topic. We are deeply concerned about the current state of America’s political process and agree that the election process deserves serious attention. However, many of us would like to expand the commission’s apparent focus upon reducing long lines on Election Day, believing such a narrow focus falls short of the reforms necessary to improve our voting experience.

There are specific defects that affect independent/unaffiliated voters that the commission has not yet decided to address. With 40 percent of Americans now identifying as independent, we believe that addressing the concerns of independents should be a commission priority. Accordingly, we intend to make sure that the commission is aware of the barriers that prevent independents from fully participating in the election process.

Representatives of independent voter groups already have submitted testimony at commission hearings in Miami and in Washington, D.C. Now it’s our turn. Several Colorado independent/unaffiliated voters, under the aegis of IndependentVoting.org (a national association for independent voters), will attend the hearing at 9 a.m. Aug. 8 at the History Colorado Center at 1200 Broadway in Denver.

We invite independents – and independent-minded Colorado voters – throughout the state to join us.

GWEN I. BALLARD
Carbondale

Demand passage of FairTax Act

“The Senate’s top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to preserve in tax reform.”  This is the opening sentence in a piece published by THE HILL, a Washington DC online newspaper. Reread that first sentence.

Our Senate is so corrupt its members don’t want their name connected with the sordid “tax deals” they have made in the past. It can’t be because they would be embarrassed or ashamed. They are incapable of such. They are afraid that we, their voting constituents, might find out just who the corrupt ones are and vote them out.

Many congressmen are so intoxicated on the power that comes with the IRS and the tax code Congress doesn’t govern effectively.

This couldn’t happen if the FairTax Act were adopted. This proposed tax legislation has been before Congress for more than 10 years but never even considered. With the FairTax there are no loopholes — absolutely no opportunity for “crooked deals” by elected congressmen. Its passage would annihilate the IRS, too.

Educate yourself about the FairTax. Contact your congressman; demand its passage.

The corrupt Congress is bringing our nation to ruin.

GLEN E. TERRELL

Arlington, Texas



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