Reassessments raise taxes, not lower them
A recent article regarding the Town of Cheektowaga's budget had town councilmen patting each other on the back for keeping taxes in check. The only complaint was from Councilman Thomas M. Johnson. He had a valid point in stating that the town's assessment practices on residential properties have had a dramatic effect in raising taxes.
Councilman James P. Rogowski refuted this argument by using comparable home values in 2007 and 2008 and stating that the current taxpayer would pay $40 less in taxes.
Perhaps Rogowski should stop by my home once more and I can explain to him how in eight years my assessment has risen from $126,000 to $214,000 -- an increase of $88,000. If he could explain to me how my property taxes have decreased, I certainly would enjoy the Cheektowaga version of "fuzzy math."
Let's stop treating children like adults
I was appalled when I opened my Nov. 4 newspaper and saw on the picture page not one, but four, pictures of an 8-year-old child's birthday party. They were pictures of a little girl and her friends being treated as grown-up women, getting facials, massages and expert help and advice for their makeup.
We who have already raised our children, and those of us who are lucky to have grandkids, are looking at these pictures and shaking our heads. When did kids stop being kids? Most female children want to play with makeup and play dress-up. And they should. But not at a salon! Let them experiment with their natural curiosity and put on makeup and play make-believe at home. They are children and should be allowed to be children. That is part of the problem our society is having -- we treat our children as miniature adults. They aren't.
I also wonder why The News thought it appropriate to be in attendance and document this with four photos. Isn't there enough news in this world that readers would want to see? Shame on The News, and shame on parents who won't allow their children to be children.
How can some people be so cold-hearted?
The Nov. 4 letter, "Reynolds, Kuhl right to uphold SCHIP veto," is the most cold-hearted and ignorant I have seen in The News. If the writer had only read the preamble to the Constitution, he would have seen that "We the people of the United States . . . promote the general welfare . . . to ourselves and our posterity . . ." But do we need the Constitution to tell us to help our most defenseless? How many billions of dollars have we donated to other nations? Can't we contribute a fraction of this to our own children?
As far as his statement about Norway, the maximum marginal tax rate in Norway is only 55.2 percent, not the 78 percent he claimed. This is a little higher than the 35 percent paid in the United States, but Norway makes up for it at the low end. The net income (income less deductions) is tax free to $13,296 for a single and $21,759 for a couple using today's currency exchange rate. Compare this with the 10 percent Americans pay on net income paid to $7,570 for a single person and $15,100 for a couple.
And for this much more equitable tax distribution, the Norwegians get first-class education and health care.
People starting to vote for candidate, not party
In its Nov. 8 front-page articles on the Republican sweep of Erie County, I think The News should have labeled the results the "Collins" effect, not the Spitzer effect. Had Collins been a Democrat against a political Republican, he still would have won handily.
Also witness in section B the close result in the Amherst town highway chief race, in which the Democratic candidate may yet beat the heavily-supported Republican incumbent. Some people do vote for candidates, not parties.
Collins' victory is a demonstration against party and crony politics that plague our area. May he be successful in his leadership of Erie County!
County can't be run like a profit-making company
Well, here we go again. People of Erie County, how could you? Haven't we had enough with seven years of a pro-business leader in Washington? Now we look forward to four years in our precious county with a pro-business person in charge. Are we not aware that business owners will do anything to increase their bottom line? Where do you think our local jobs have gone? Thus, why do you think our kids cannot find work here and have to leave? Our jobs have gone to foreign countries for cheaper labor to increase the business owner's bottom line.
I guess we did not have the smarts to equate big business in Washington to business owners in Erie County. You cannot run a county as a profit-making company. Erie County is supposed to be run for the benefit of the people; that is, you and me. It may not mean "as cheaply as ever possible." I wish us all luck.
Democrats, The News must get back in touch
Donn Esmonde is absolutely correct in his Nov. 7 article titled, "Democrats prove they're out of touch." The Buffalo News can be part of the solution or part of the problem. The News endorsed Jim Keane, not Chris Collins. The News also needs to get "back in touch" with more balanced perspectives.
Story was inspiring to all who stutter
The Nov. 3 article, "Local beauty queen shows her 'True Life'," about Jessica Filipski, the reigning Miss Western New York, was most inspiring. Filipski stutters, but she is determined not to let stuttering hold her back. Her appearance on the MTV show, "True Life," will no doubt inspire young people who stutter.
What I liked about the show was that it stressed speech therapy. While many speech therapy practices exist, all experts agree that early intervention is imperative. The Stuttering Foundation (www.stutteringhelp.org) has a list of qualified speech therapists who specialize in stuttering. The nonprofit Stuttering Foundation also has many books and DVDs for adults, children and parents.
I wish such a list had been available in my youth. Like many stutterers of my age, I fell victim to high-priced therapies that promised a "cure" and turned out to be a rip-off. I hope The News will run future articles on Filipski. With more awareness of stuttering, hopefully some day there will be adequate funding for research that will find a cure.
Tri V. Nguyen