Email letters, Oct. 27, 2011

Consequences will be the same

What’s the difference? It’s one pot of money. It’s just a matter of who gets to spend it. You can make most of the same arguments for voting against 3B as are made for voting against 103. If money from 3B will save jobs for the School District then the corollary is also true. It will lose jobs in the private sector. Since that money will not be available for taxpayers to spend at businesses the consequences will be the same as teacher layoffs. Take your pick.

L. CLIFFORD KNAPP
Grand Junction

Donations could help veterans

Recently I saw an ad on television requesting donations for placing a Christmas wreath on every Grand Valley veteran’s grave. What a lovely thought and gesture.

Having said that, it seems way more practical to me to collect donations for our living veterans who are having problems in this economy getting jobs, having their homes foreclosed, educating their children, etc. I wonder what all of those $15 donations would mean to some of these veterans? Just a thought.

SHIRLEY GREEN
Grand Junction

Taxpayers need protection from CMU proposal

Two recent Daily Sentinel articles have reported on Colorado Mesa University officials discussing the possibility of the state of Colorado issuing hundreds of millions of dollars of long-term debt to give to CMU (and other colleges) to invest. The state would pay off this debt and allow CMU and others to use the earnings on investments to provide the funds needed to run the schools.

The unstated result of this ludicrous idea is that, if approved, a floor will be established for higher education funding for many years into the future. The current system requires that higher education compete with K–12 education, prisons, road maintenance and construction, etc. for the limited supply of taxpayer dollars doled out in Denver. If the CMU idea is adopted,  the debt service on the new debt will be exempt from future budget decisions.

If this idea is good for CMU and one or two other Colorado schools, wouldn’t it be good for all colleges in the country? The amount of public debt that would hit the market would be astronomical, drying up funds and increasing interest rates for all other debt instruments. Don’t most folks agree finally that our level of government debt threatens our very way of life?

Colorado voters attempted to amend their constitution to require taxpayer approval of debt. Unfortunately, government insiders have figured a way to weasel around the constitution. But there is not a better example of why taxpayers need protection than this proposal from CMU.

DENNIS J. SIMPSON
Grand Junction

Occupy movement is about injustices

The Occupy movement is not an objection to millionaires. (I never met a person who didn’t wish he was a millionaire). The Occupiers are protesting financial injustices. The revolving doors and decisions of economists, lobbyists, corporate boards, Congress, presidential administrators and judges produce continual legislation and policies serving big money interests at the expense of working class Americans. Cozy relationships between investment bankers, Congress, rating agencies, Wall Street brokers and elimination of governmental oversights, collapsed our economy. The perpetrators got bailouts and bonuses.

Hedge fund managers pay 15 percent tax rates on their earnings. Many teachers and firemen pay 28 percent. Corporations with official “domiciles” in the Cayman Islands and/or armies of tax lawyers/accountants avoid paying any federal income taxes. U.S. corporations’ contribution to federal revenue is about half of what it was forty years ago. CEOs used to get compensation that was on average 40 times what their working-class employees made. Now this CEO/labor ratio is closer to 350 times — even when their company loses money.  The big fossil-fuel energy companies have history-breaking profits but still get a special depletion allowance tax break.

Banks that tanked our economy used a huge amount of their taxpayer bailouts not to assist housing/construction or to loan to small businesses but to do mergers and acquisitions to become larger or to eliminate competition.     

Politicians want to clobber Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, but throw billions of dollars maintaining 700-plus foreign military bases. The U.S. government GAO couldn’t even account for $10 billion given out to war profiteers in Iraq, yet politicians want to take $450 million from poor kids’ school lunch programs.

Congress reduced taxes on wealthy parties for the last ten years because “they were the job creators.” Trouble is, the jobs they created were in China, Malaysia, Korea and India. U.S. workers are afraid to take time off — despite productivity per man hour at record-breaking highs. The so-called “job creators” are reaping the financial benefits of foreign, slave-like labor and productive U.S. employees, but hoarding over $ 2 trillion of cash.

Our for-profit health insurance industry only gives us the costliest and the 34th best system in the world. What was our leaders’ solution to this repugnant situation? Unfunded windfalls for prescription drug companies and mandatory customers for big profit/big CEO bonus health insurance companies.

Our democratic election process has been so hijacked by big money that it takes millions of dollars to even gain a legislative seat. Thus, we no longer have a citizen Congress but one that is mostly comprised of those who have exploited, and will continue to exploit, all of the aforementioned scenarios.

JOEL PRUDHOMME
Grand Junction
 
Bradford working against state employees

What does Laura Bradford have against state employees? She always seems to be attacking them or blaming them for the stupidity of our elected officials. I recently retired because of all the new B.S. coming from the capitol.

We have not had a raise in four years, endured furlough days, increased medical insurance fees, increases of employee contribution’s to PERA and changes to retirement, all working for the state and against the employee. I have heard that if her proposal of not cashing out vacation and sick time passes, that there would probably be a mass retiring of employees. I don’t know about other state employees, but DOC staff work hard and risk there lives every day for public safety. Give them a break. Don’t vote for Laura.

RICH RENO
Grand Junction

3B is an end around TABOR

The printed letter from the seventh grader at Redlands Middle School was a nice emotional touch. No sane person in Mesa County would deny the need for quality education. But, children who use the system, and can’t see how badly it’s broken will never understand why 3B isn’t the answer.

Referred Measure 3B smells like an end run around TABOR, a legal loophole school politicians have discovered, that’s upheld by an old state supreme court ruling. It’s true state law requires public schools and the funding of them by school districts. But, what doesn’t smell right is the massive spending of tax dollars, year after year, in return for what we see and read, sub-standard, union dominated schools with tenured teachers (some unqualified) overly generous pensions and a creeping liberal agenda that doesn’t have time to teach kids to read or spell. The panicked, “on camera” pleas of politicians wanting money for more of the same will not fix that.

These same politicians have been trying to find a way to get around TABOR for years. Referred Measure 3B may just be their camel’s nose under the tent. When has throwing more money at a broken system ever fixed it? Think about it.

AL CARLEY
Grand Junction

New mortgage plan has many flaws

The government has figured out how to get rid of all those foreclosed houses. Now, with only $100 down and a so-so credit score you can buy a home.
This seems to have many flaws:

—It comes close to replicating the environment that created the current housing crisis;

—It is a short-sighted kick the can down the road approach that will only guarantee a continuing foreclosure nightmare as we let people without a solid financial footing get into homes with virtually no skin in the game;

—It further skews the market away from private sellers toward dominance by foreclosures;

—Home values, and tax collections, will continue to fall as these sales become the new “comps” for all other homes;

—It does nothing to stabilize the housing marketplace, only further de-stabilize it.
Foreclosure activity in Mesa County is increasing, I fear this program will only make this the norm. While some real estate professionals and mortgage brokers may aggressively support these sales while they collect commissions and origination fees, their short-term gain may prove to be our long-term nightmare. We need real solutions, not more poorly considered knee jerk responses that may result in a continuing cascading collapse.
JAMES HOFFMAN
Grand Junction



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