Letters to the editor on tax loopholes, pipeline mess, immigration, opera

05/31/2013 5:16 PM

05/31/2013 5:16 PM

Close tax loopholes for favored class

The Eagle editorial board supports Gov. Sam Brownback’s position and advocates continuing the increased sales tax as being the “least-bad option” to close the budget gap created by Brownback (May 30 Eagle Editorial). This support is wrong.

The hole in the budget can be solved by closing one huge loophole in Brownback’s tax bill from last year. That is the exemption from taxation of the income of the favored class – S corporations, LLCs, etc. It is this income that is forcing the tax shift from the wealthy to working-class Kansans. Close that loophole and treat that income in the same manner as we treat wage income.

The editorial board is probably correct that Brownback would veto any such legislation. He has made it perfectly clear that he will protect the interests of his favored class at the expense of ordinary working Kansans. So let him veto it. Force him and his allies to go on record again as favoring that loophole.

There is no reason for legislators to “look at other options” just to provide cover for Brownback’s ill-advised tax shifts. If they do so, then they will shoulder the blame for increasing sales taxes – and we have already seen Brownback and his allies do that in the past.

Let Brownback deal with the mess he created.

BEN HUIE

Wichita

Pipeline mess

A representative for TransCanada wasn’t being completely honest (“Pipeline safe,” May 28 Letters to the Editor). The Keystone XL pipeline won’t be carrying oil. It will be carrying bitumen, the nearly solid sludge that spilled all over and sits at the bottom of the Yellowstone River from three years ago.

The claim that 9,000 jobs will be created is exaggerated. In reality it will create 35 permanent jobs. More jobs are bound to be lost because it’s expected the pipeline will clear the oil glut in Kansas, resulting in higher oil prices in the Midwest. Since TransCanada is getting a property-tax exemption, the loss in tax revenue could mean layoffs in the public sector.

The existing Keystone pipeline has leaked 14 times since 2010, including one leak that spilled 21,000 gallons of crude. The pipes are more prone to leaks due to the high acidity of the bitumen. To say the company is using the “latest technology” doesn’t mean much if the technology hasn’t advanced in decades. Oil is still being cleaned up using the latest technology, which we call paper towels.

Foreign nations would like the pipeline built, because the bitumen is destined for export. While Trans-Canada and the refineries are set to make huge profits, the people get to deal with the mess.

DOUG ITTNER

Wichita

Control immigration

The immigration reform bill, if passed, would produce disastrous results.

The president, the Democratic Party and now the Republican Party are motivated by a keen desire to add Hispanics to their constituent base. They are not concerned about what is good for American citizens.

If passed, this bill would continue to take jobs from citizens and give them to immigrants by issuing visas to an increased number of highly skilled workers to do the work that our leaders say Americans are not educated to do – by an education system overloaded by illegal and legal immigrants. In addition, the bill would reduce the numbers of visas granted to unskilled (farm) workers. This would encourage even more illegal immigrants to come for the farm work.

Would the simultaneous granting of amnesty and “protecting our borders” work? I seriously doubt it. Amnesty for illegal immigrants didn’t work in 1986. It encouraged illegal immigration, and immigration agents were unable to cope with the volume after that. Why would amnesty work now?

We need to continue to deport all illegal immigrants along with their offspring, control the borders and reduce the numbers of visas issued. We need to exercise control over immigration. We need laws that will protect our country and its citizens.

MARY KATHRYN VERNON

Wichita

Fabulous opera

Congratulations to the Wichita Grand Opera. I attended its fabulous annual Opera on the Lake at Bradley Fair on May 18. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of “Don Pasquale.” It was a full-length production adapted beautifully in English for the setting at the lake. It could not have been more fun. I don’t know how Wichita Grand Opera manages to do such a great job with virtually no support from the city, county or state, but it delivers spectacular performances year after year.

Also, kudos to The Eagle for supporting such a great community event. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to explore the art of opera at no cost, and it’s just as much fun as watching computerized explosions in a movie theater (and far more culturally satisfying). I wish Opera on the Lake could happen more than once a year.

HELEN BULLOCK

Andover

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