Printed letters, Feb. 2

Eliminating sales-tax exemption is unfair

Eliminating the sales-tax exemption on candy and soft drinks may seem reasonable on the surface, but if you take a closer look you will see it is arbitrary and discriminatory.  The Daily Sentinel’s Jan. 31editorial asked, “Is there any reason that soft drinks and candy — which are hardly nutritional necessities — should be exempt from the state sales tax as other food is?”  The answer is, most definitely, yes.

Candy and soft drinks are being singled out. However, they are made from the same ingredients as many other foods. Levying sales tax on soft drinks while exempting other high fructose-based drinks, that have the same or worse nutritional profiles, discriminates against the soft-drink industry.

Taxing candy while exempting, for example, ice cream, fudge brownies and potato chips in regard to their nutritional benefits is absurd. Candy and soft drinks may just be the easiest of targets.

In addition, taxes on food are regressive in that they penalize low-income families to a greater extent.

We are very concerned with the budgetary dilemma Colorado is currently facing and are more than willing to pay our fair share. However, using the budget crisis to discriminate against one or two sectors of the business community is unfair.



Brown won’t compromise on his prinicples

There are people I’ve spoken with from Massachusetts who for, the first time, voted for a Republican when they voted for Scott Brown. This guy’s the real deal and was known as a basketball player (both high school and college) to put team before himself (and he had a great outside shot).

He works hard to get things done. He’s a guy’s guy (drives a pickup) and graduated from two great schools (Tuffs, Boston College Law). Wrentham, where he lives, is a small blue-collar town not too far from where I grew up. We used to drive through it on Route 140 on our way to the cape.

He is a fiscal and defense hawk, but he listens, speaks softly and respects different opinions.

He is known for his sense of humor. He’s down to Earth, much more so than President Obama. I see him working with everyone in Washington, once he adjusts to the lay of the land, but I don’t see him compromising his principles.

He won’t be any less fiscally responsible or more dogmatic on wedge issues. He may last only two years.



Set-back rule should be required for drilling

There are many empirical and case studies that demonstrate that there are adverse health and safety consequences from the operations of natural gas drilling. And although much attention has been given toward the protection of animal species residing in the locales of such industrial activities, not enough has been done to protect the well-being of humans.

Recently, minimal yet reasonable gas industry regulations were passed in Colorado. However, our state government chose to leave out the most important restriction that could have gone a long way toward protecting urban homeowners and farmers from harm to their well-being and safety. I am referring here to the quarter-mile setback rule. Such setbacks would ensure that air quality of inhabited dwellings would be at least minimally maintained and that fires would not so easily spread from wells to inhabited dwellings.

Representatives from natural-gas-extraction companies talk much in public about their mitigation of drilling impacts upon communities. Yet they will not voluntarily impose upon themselves the one mitigation that would most ensure the protection of the public welfare, the quarter-mile setback rule. This rule would stipulate that well drilling should not be undertaken nearer than a quarter mile from any home or other inhabited dwelling.

Our state Legislature must act quickly to pass the quarter-mile setback rule. I don’t care if the lobbyists are opposed to such regulation. Human decency demands such action!



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