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Letters to the editor on water fine, sales-tax hogwash, IRS, tornado danger, litterers

  • Published Thursday, May 30, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Letters to the Editor

Include your full name, home address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are edited for clarity and length; 200 words or fewer are best. Letters may be published in any format and become the property of The Eagle.

Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202

E-mail: letters@wichitaeagle.com

Fax: 316-269-6799

For more information, contact Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.

Water plan hurts empty nesters

Thanks for Annie Calovich’s excellent column on the proposed water restrictions, which would result in fines for “over-users” (May 25 Home & Garden).

I agree that we all should be trying to conserve whenever we can. However, I think the column and the proposed restrictions overlook one important point: A system that bases summer allowance on winter usage penalizes those who try to conserve all year long, and could actually discourage conservation during the winter months.

Under the current proposal, the more we use in winter, the more we get to use in the summer. This would be especially difficult for empty nesters who naturally use less water (less laundry and dish washing, fewer showers and flushes). In many cases, these are the people who take a lot of pride in their lawns and gardens, and have spent the most time, effort and money on them over the years.

Additionally, it seems that we are selling water wholesale to other communities (Derby) at a fraction of what we would have to pay to buy it wholesale (from El Dorado). What kind of water restrictions are in place or proposed in Derby?

JIM HAYS

Wichita

Political hogwash

Sen. Jeff Melcher, R-Leawood, suggested that lowering the sales-tax rate on food is “social engineering” in the tax code (“Senate OKs plan to keep higher rate of sales tax,” May 24 Eagle). He also said that if food were cheaper, folks would just buy more of it, which perhaps would lead to obesity.

The idea that lowering, even a very small amount, the sales tax on groceries, as many states have, would result in rampant obesity is insulting to those who actually need those groceries to survive.

Some of us don’t live on political hogwash, as they do in Topeka. The politicians in Topeka crow a lot about jobs and the like. But we all know the state economy is tied to the national economy, which is tied to the world economy. I don’t see how destroying the state’s income sources will lead to a better situation with lots of jobs.

Removing the state income tax, as Kansas is doing, will make some folks a lot richer and lower state revenues, which will result in higher sales taxes and property taxes.

What if the wealthy use this windfall to buy more food and get fat? I guess in Melcher’s Republican world, that is not social engineering.

MICHAEL G. NICHOLS

Wichita

IRS doing its job

Over the past several weeks, I have read with interest about the “scandal” involving the Internal Revenue Service and its close scrutiny of special-interest groups such as the tea party that have applied for non-tax status. But as the author of “Why tax-exempt?” (May 22 Letters to the Editor) wondered: Why has no one asked why tea party groups were even applying for tax-exempt status in the first place?

Tax-exempt status is reserved for religious organizations, social-welfare groups, veterans organizations, health and welfare service organizations, and other such groups. The tea party and other ultraconservative politically oriented groups are essentially that – political. It is no wonder that the IRS was asking them hard questions about the true nature of their organizations and scrutinizing them in regard to their requests.

If I decided to request tax-exempt status for a new political group that I organized, I would hope that the IRS would scrutinize my request. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be doing its job. I should hope that those groups and ultraconservative members of Congress would have realized that before criticizing the Obama administration for “picking on them.” Or perhaps they feel that they are above scrutiny.

By the way, I loved the commentary by Kevin Horrigan (“Become social-welfare organization, get rich,” May 23 Opinion). Read it. It was very well done.

RAY HULL

Wichita

Lives in jeopardy

On May 19, when the tornadoes and severe storms hit Kansas and Oklahoma, my daughter took her 3-year-old son to the emergency room at a Wichita hospital. She arrived before the storm began and was in a section of the hospital without windows, unaware of the rapidly deteriorating weather. Hospital employees were alerted and gathered people into restrooms first, then later into the cafeteria.

They were told that hospital security had said to discharge patients whose conditions were not serious enough to warrant occupying a room, because rooms needed to be available for potential storm victims. That is understandable. However, they were not offered a place in the hospital to wait out the storm, but were forced to take their chances at finding shelter while driving in extremely dangerous conditions. This is unacceptable, especially for a hospital.

This situation needs to be addressed. Weren’t there enough lives in jeopardy already?

SUSAN ROGERS

Jonesborough, Tenn.

Fine litterers

I don’t like that people keep throwing cigarettes out their car windows, because it could really hurt our population. I’m 9 years old and allergic to cigarettes.

What bothers me is that the police don’t watch for this and make people pay a fine. The fine money could be used to put in new parks, keep our water clean and feed the poor.

TRISTAN LYONS

Wichita

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