Letters to the Editor

Posted: June 12, 2011

Taxpayers' money is running out

Councilman Bill Green's guest commentary on Tuesday ("School District has a management deficit") was a thoughtful account of the issues facing the Philadelphia School District, and it offered a cogent way to avoid a tax increase by requiring the district to demonstrate responsible management.

The public is reaching the end of its ability to provide unlimited funding. From now on, before money is taken from us, it should have to be shown that it will be used for a clearly stated purpose, whether it be educating children, protecting the public, paving streets, or removing trash.

If my income decreases, I have to lower my spending. If student enrollment decreases, there should be a corresponding reduction in costs to support the school system. But in today's society, it doesn't work that way. Agencies spend money that they - and we - do not have, charging it to the future, expecting the next generation to pay for today's deficits.

Sandy Schwartz

Berlin

Schwartz148@verizon.net

The curious case of Cheltenham Twp.

The Cheltenham tax rate is more than 60 percent higher than those of all other school districts in Montgomery County, but a comparison of its performance with other local school districts by grade demonstrates that the money doesn't translate into the highest performance.

The answer is simple. We need an action plan, not a strategic plan. This should include:

Freezing or decreasing wages, including tenure and education advances; closing two buildings and opening no new ones; reducing administrative staff by 40 percent; reducing the medical expenses rate by increasing employee participation to 50 percent; petitioning Harrisburg to eliminate the defined retirement plan; eliminating tenure; eliminating the right to strike.

None of these cost reductions would affect student programs or student performance.

Joseph T. Simone

Glenside

Time to fund schools in a different way

The reasons adduced in the editorial on June 4 ("Taxing seniors") as to why Dunwoody should not be excused from paying local taxes are all sound.

Nevertheless, for years, school funding has been based on property taxes, which are inherently unfair. Seniors work for years to buy, improve, and maintain their homes, but are often driven out of them (sometimes to retirement communities) by rising taxes that must be paid from a fixed income.

I realize that a home does represent wealth, but it is not a form of wealth that can be eaten or used to pay the doctor. Furthermore, as some recent studies have shown, remaining in a paid-for house may very well be more economical for both the resident and the community at large.

It is time to support schools from income-based taxes - taxes that will not hurt the "financially unable" residents of a community, whether they are in an assisted-living community or are "aging in place," as a number of people would prefer to do.

Joan Boytim

Norristown

A double standard regarding Christie?

I was glad to see your editorial take Gov. Christie to task for using taxpayer funds for his personal trips ("Forget traffic jams," June 3). The state's chief executive should be held accountable.

I can't help wondering, however, why I saw no editorial criticizing President Obama's flight on Air Force One for a date with his wife to see a play in New York City. And what about first lady Michelle Obama's "girls' trip" to Spain, which cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars?

I look forward to the day when you hold Democrats as accountable as you do Republicans.

Rich Holstein

West Chester

The disabled, minorities, and logic

A June 1 editorial ("Share city business") suggested giving more city contracts to firms owned by minorities, women, or the disabled.

Our son served as a Marine from 1999 to 2007. After an honorable discharge, he started a contracting and supply company. It is a "service-disabled, veteran-owned business" currently awaiting its application for certification as such to finish legal reviews. When the review is completed, his company will be recognized by the federal government as certified, and it will be eligible to bid on federal work as a "minority."

Two weeks ago, he went to Harrisburg and Philadelphia to register as a minority-owned business, only to be told that neither the commonwealth nor the city recognizes a service-disabled, veteran-owned business in the same way as the federal government. We understand that a bill has been introduced in the state Senate to recognize an enterprise such as our son's as a minority business. But Philadelphia has failed to address this.

You don't have to be a nonwhite, as the editorial mentioned, to be a minority. And doesn't disabled mean disabled? Those who have honorably served this country deserve better. We don't understand the logic.

Frank and Theresa Mellor

Fort Washington

If you can protest, you can work

It is interesting that 100 people managed to assemble to protest Councilman Frank DiCicco's proposal to outlaw certain antisocial behavior on the city's streets ("Homeless bill stirs protest; DiCicco says he'll modify it," June 3).

I wonder if any of those protesters are on disability because they "can't" work? After all, if you can get to a rally, there have to be plenty jobs you can do.

Next time, let's hand out brooms and offer paychecks at the rally and see who really wants to work.

Jonathan Goldstein

Narberth

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