Citizens receiveburdens, not breaks
How many times will the Republican governor and Legislature shift taxes from business and the wealthy to the average citizen before those citizens vote them from office?
Former Gov. Risch raised our sales tax to make us believe we were getting property tax relief. Then Gov. Otter shorted education, which then had to seek lost revenue by raising our property taxes again. Now Otter wants personal property tax relief for business.
When those local tax revenues dry up, local governments and the school districts will again have to raise the real property tax levies or vote for local option taxes that will fleece more from you and me.
Just to make sure that we cannot use a voter initiative on taxes, like we did with their education reform, they are going to make it impossible for voters to get enough signatures to get future initiatives on the ballot by changing the way signatures must be collected.
Instead of a percent of total registered voters, it will be a percent of registered voters in "each" district giving more power to rural areas at the expense of urban areas.
If you want a republic "without democracy," you are about to get it.
JAMES PAULS, Eagle
Boise needs to upgradepublic transportation
My family and I went to Portland, Ore. in early December for a weekend getaway. We drove to one event because the public transportation system did not go all the way to where we wanted to go. But for the rest of the weekend we left our car in the hotel parking garage and used the streetcar system. An all-day pass cost $5. It is an honor system, and the transit authority did check our tickets on one of the trains/trolly lines.
I know Boise and the Treasure Valley is not quite as big and densely populated as Portland, but we need to take the first step to a better mass transit system. I encourage my fellow citizens to contact their state legislator and local leaders to find a way to fund some type of light rail system.
PHILLIP HANDZEL, Boise
Totalitarian regimeis in America's future
I now believe that our federal government isn't really liberal, but is instead a front for a future totalitarian regime.
If the current government decides on its own which Americans are an enemy of the state and can kill them without due process, the next government can make its own list and kill them, too.
If the current government writes executive orders to circumvent parts of the Constitution, the next government can make similar orders and eliminate the entire Constitution.
If the current government is required to prepare a budget in early January, but hasn't done that in four years, the next government can also ignore the budget and tax us to pay for any funding program it creates.
If the current government uses my taxes to subsidize electric Chevrolet Volts that only rich people can afford, the next government can also use my few tax dollars to subsidize things for rich people.
The government is de-legitimizing itself. A true liberal would never empower a government to take these drastic actions. This can only be a totalitarian regime's conspiracy. I once thought that this could only have come from the right. Silly me!
DAVID SZPLETT, Kuna
Keep 'em at home
After everything I've read about Nampa lately, with the city and county government, Bujak, the school budget debacle and the juvenile detention situation I'm thinkin' the best thing that ever came out of Nampa was an empty Greyhound bus!
DENNIS GRAY, Boise
Solution has flaws
I am writing in response to Mr. Tourangeau's letter of Feb. 15. Evidently he believes teachers ought to decide their job duties, their pay and what they teach. The last I knew teachers have bosses just like any employee. He also implies that local school board trustees are not capable of deciding what is best for the students.
I believe our education system is broken and needs fixing, but Mr. Tourangeau's solution certainly is not the answer.
ARLIE SHAW, Mountain Home
There's only one Earth
As a Christian, I was intrigued and amused by your article of Feb. 7 headlined, "Scientists: Earth-like planet could be just 13 light-years away." For example, the accompanying illustration was captioned an "artist's conception" of a "hypothetical planet." Paragraph one said this hypothetical planet was "potentially capable of hosting life."
Perhaps to underscore the point that no one has ever actually seen this planet, paragraph 3 said that scientists are "searching for telltale fluctuations" in starlight "that suggest" the presence of a planet.
Paragraph 4 listed a number of mathematical factors, which data "suggests that there should be many Earth-like planets lurking within telescopes' reach." Paragraph 6 discussed "planet candidates" and the need for "further analysis" and "additional searches." Paragraph 8 said that "scientists don't fully understand conditions on habitability on Earth."
In Isaiah 66:1, the Lord speaks, saying "Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool." My faith tells me that the one God created the one world on which the people he created are to live. I know that many people will disagree with me; that's their right. I do hope, however, that people will consider the fact that I might be correct in my view.
WALTER VARNES, Nampa
Obama's agendais not so radical
I would like to respond to recent letters submitted by Al Tikker of Meridian and Dan Kaeppner of Marsing. Mr. Tikker blames President Obama and Secretary Clinton for lives lost during the attack on the Libyan embassy in Benghazi.
I would like to ask Mr. Tikker where his outrage was when Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their flag-waving supporters were more than willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of U.S. troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis during the totally unjustifiable war in Iraq? Talk about hypocrisy.
In Mr. Kaeppner's letter, he accuses Obama of being a brother of radical Islam because of supposed arms sales to Egypt, desire to reduce our nuclear arsenal by 80 percent and proposing cuts to the Pentagon. Well, the U.S. has been selling arms to far less scrupulous characters than Mr. Morsi for decades, including Saddam Husein during the Reagan administration.
The nuclear arms reduction would still leave us with more than enough nukes to destroy civilization and reductions to a bloated Pentagon are long overdue.
Obama actually increased numbers of troops fighting "radical Islam" in Afghanistan and has greatly increased the use of drones to target "radical Islamists" wherever they have been found.
MIKE MATHIS, Boise
Senator offersstrange thoughts
When Sen. Winder insists he's a small government conservative, he must either be joking or think that you're really stupid.
There's something to be said for the mindset of a person who would introduce legislation that cannot be changed and lasts forever as he has done with RS 21862 and 21872. But I think that just plain stupid would serve well enough to argue against what Sen. Winder has in mind for you, his humble servant, recently.
Can you imagine what America would look like today if Prohibition still existed? One need look no further than our failed drug war for a relevant modern-day example. How much more escalated would the border war with Mexican drug cartels be today if that were the case? How much more overburdened with bootleggers would our modern-day prison system be?
Explain the beliefs of a person who would say that he hopes the feds step in to squash a law passed by voters in a state, as he has spoken so eloquently about Washington? Would you say that person respects the right of people to govern themselves? Or would you laugh at that statement?
AARON MAYOVSKY, Boise
SOCIAL SECURITY DENIAL
Help is not there
What does it take to get Supplemental Security Income when you really need it? If you aren't illegal or from another country or on welfare it takes forever.
I have started my journey through the system almost two years ago. I have been denied three times (which I'm told is usual). My last letter from Social Security was in July 2012 to tell me I would be having a television interview with a judge.
I just found out, through many frustrating calls and hours spent on the phone, that my case is "pending" and could take another six months or more before it is heard. In the meantime, I can no longer work and have bills that, like many others, I cannot pay.
To top things off, I have recently been diagnosed with Tardive dyskinesia, which is caused by taking medications prescribed by doctors who are supposed to know what they are giving you. It causes involuntary muscle movements, chewing movements, lip sucking, etc. It is irreversible and can worsen over time. Social Security is suppose to be there to help those in need. I have paid my dues for over 40 years. Where is the help?
KATHY MASLONKA, Nampa