Printed letters, Dec. 30, 2010

The Daily Sentinel’s Dec. 26 editorial, “Numbers Game,” is misleading in one important aspect.  The statement, “Colorado is somewhere in the middle in this spectrum. It still faces difficult budget issues and its overall tax rates are near the middle of the pack,” is misleading.

http://Www.topretirements.com, a website that compares all states for quality of life and overall tax rates, says Colorado ranks 37th in overall tax rates. The site takes into account sales taxes, property taxes, gasoline taxes, income taxes, cigarette taxes, taxes on Social Security income, etc. It is a stretch to say that Colorado ranks near the middle of the pack, when 74 percent of all states have higher tax burdens.

Nobody likes to pay taxes, and the local mindset is that taxes are too high. They may be, but we should at least be looking at where we really are, relative to other states. Most taxpayers in the nation are far more burdened with taxes than we are.

Colorado is one of the top retirement places in the nation because of our relatively low tax rates and natural beauty. We should be as interested in maintaining the scenic beauty that was our heritage as we are in giving less money to government. If we destroy our environment, we could have the lowest tax burden in the nation but lose our competitive edge when it comes to lifestyle.

When discussing tax burden, we should both be factual about where we are, relatively speaking, and understand what we are paying for with those taxes. Imagine a Colorado with lower taxes and you are looking at a Colorado that not many of us would want to occupy.

CLAUDETTE KONOLA

Grand Junction

Consider consequences of all of your actions

Recently, my car was struck in Grand Junction by an anonymous driver who drove away afterward.

The individual(s), who tried to replicate a scene out of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” astonishingly did not destroy life or large pieces of property. This is the only positive piece of the accident (no pun intended), and due to the pending investigation, I will not dive further into the details of the incident.

The purpose of this letter is not to dwell upon negative aspects of this event, but to focus on the need to claim responsibility for our actions. This is easier said than done because no one is perfect. In fact, I can count some small improprieties as I write this.

I think we don’t grasp the magnitude of our actions and the unintended consequences that may follow, let alone the ability to admit we did something wrong. Claiming responsibility for our actions should not be a New Year’s resolution that we forget three weeks later, but a constant practice.

The constant practice of claiming responsibility for our actions will strengthen not only ourselves, but our community as well. It will allow us to grow and become more aware of the actions we take in the future.

Despite the frustration and monetary loss, I have learned a valuable lesson from this experience, which is that we (including the author) all have to rethink the way we carry ourselves. If we do not have this personal and collective awareness of how we carry ourselves then we will fall short of moving forward.

This advice may fall upon deaf ears, but please take into consideration your next action because you never know how many dominoes will fall behind it. I certainly will become more aware of what I do in the upcoming year.

SCOTT LEWANDOWSKI

Palisade

Right to free speech carries a responsibility

How can The Daily Sentinel publish a letter that insists any president, whether it’s Obama or Bush, Clinton or Reagan, intends to “wipe out a generation of patriots”? Are there really individuals who believe that Obama is out to murder Americans and hand out free nukes to the Russians?

Indeed, we have the right to say what we want at any time, and to believe every word of it. But in an era when every point, true or false, can be “confirmed” via the Internet, we all have a responsibility to pursue truth in our perceptions of the world around us.

Saying or believing a thing won’t make it true. If America is to remain competitive with rising nations of the world, we have a responsibility to keep our heads where the sun shines and pursue a rational approach to our society, our environment and ourselves.

If we each believe our own stories without comparing our ideas with history and the present, and if we choose to stubbornly disbelieve the facts we are presented in public and higher education, America will never again be the great source of innovation, of diplomacy or of economic prowess. Instead, we will be looked at as a source of amusement and disgust. For your kids’ sake, no matter your political affiliation, either think or don’t speak.

THOMAS NELSON Grand Junction


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