Writers tackle sales tax for road work; immigration and the president; drones; Episcopal church rift
02/10/2013 3:49 PM
02/10/2013 3:51 PM
Vehicle sales tax
needed for road repair
I am normally the last one to say raise taxes for anything. However our roads are in desperate need of repair. We also need signal light at intersections as well as money for Interstate 73. I know of intersections that have major school bus traffic and DOT has studied and approved the need for a light, but say that they are broke and to use County Transportation Committee money to get it done.
CTC only has certain amount of funds at their disposal so their hands are tied also. When the $300 cap on sales tax for vehicles was implemented South Carolina had a sales tax of 5 percent. Our sales tax now is 8 percent. So what I propose is that the Legislature increase the sales tax cap to $480, which would be in line with our new 8 percent rate.
We then leave the $300 alone and leave it in the general fund for education and let the new $180 tax be available toward our roads. I don’t think this increase will hurt the car dealers either. Most people, when purchasing a vehicle, are spending in excess of $10,000 or more and an additional $180 is not going to deter them from making the purchase.
If it will hurt the used car dealers who are selling the less than $10,000 cars, maybe we could say between $3,750 and $10,000 you would still only pay the $300.00. Please call your legislators and be in support of this new plan. It will help bring South Carolina transportation system up into the 21st century.
It might also keep us from having to raise the gasoline tax right now when we are trying to pull out of this economic slump. I feel that tax will hurt the overall taxpayer more than raising the sales tax on vehicles. Also, most people get a loan when purchasing a vehicle and the $180 increase will be just a few more cents on their payment.
As I sit here and listen to Fox News, I am appalled by reasoning of the “Fox News All-Stars” concerning the Presidents Drone Program. Two of the pundits approved the program, with the caveat, they should now enact a law to clarify the reasoning behind theirs and the President’s authority to conduct these bombings.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the President’s Drone Program, let me as a vteran of the Korean War voice my opinion. This program is designed to kill from an undetermined altitude by some NCO in Hootersville, by authority of the President any American citizens deemed to be enemy combatants, and anyone else standing with them.
This is not a current law being followed, the law has yet to be written. I believe this program authorized by the President is simple premeditated murder of innocent civilians.
More than 3,000 plus people have been killed who were by no means enemy combatants by the indiscriminate use of our military power. I beg our political and social leaders to condemn this program and ask for the immediate impeachment of the President for premeditated murder of innocent, including women and children. As an afterthought, didn't this program land in the midst of a wedding party when the program was getting started where no enemy combatants were in attendance?
Robert TO Smith
Re: Feb. 5 letter from Tom Archer, “Immigration plan disrespecting real Americans:”
Responding to “disrespecting real Americans”, Mr. Archer forgets that the Republicans, of which I’m assuming he is one, lost the last two Presidential elections. The majority of the country has spoken twice, making clear who and what path they wanted this country to follow. It was not Republican.
Derisively, the party of “No” has obstructed the majority of legislation that President Obama has proposed, thereby bringing the country to the brink of collapse. Sadly, this is not being done on principle, but as an attempt to undermine the will of the people, all the while leading to a paralysis of our government.
The Republican leaders have adopted and encouraged a vitriolic atmosphere among its constituency directed at the President, which is both personal and disrespectful. Wistfully, I remember when manners and civility were taught in the home. We can agree to disagree without the ugliness.
In regard to who should be a citizen of the United States and what language should be official, may I remind Mr. Archer that actually none of us have “any business being here” as we do not speak the language of the native Americans.
Wouldn’t it be informative for all concerned to have a conversation with Native American tribal leaders about immigration and official language. To casually disparage immigrants seeking citizenship in the United States without regard to their individual circumstances seems un-American. I am reminded of a comment I heard recently, “we are all immigrants, but some of us have more seniority”.
Follow bisop’s call
to heal the breach
The Feb. 2 paper carried two letters about the Episcopal Church that have lodged in my head and now lead me to respond. When I first attended an Episcopal service some 40 years ago, as the father of two small children in search of a worship environment for my family, I was immediately struck by the openness and welcome of the local parish. It felt like a place where I could explore my relationship with God, where I could ask questions about things that puzzled me in the scriptures and receive thoughtful answers.
In the 10 years since I moved here, the Diocese of South Carolina has moved increasingly away from the Episcopal Church I have known and loved over the years. I remember in particular a one-on-one conversation with a former Bishop of South Carolina, in which he responded to my observation that the church had always been a big tent with room for diverse opinions by stating flatly: “There is no middle any more!”
Who, I wonder, removed the middle?
Over the last 30 years a succession of conservative bishops have moved the Diocese away from the middle into what has become a confrontational relationship with the national church. The clergy have been selected from the most conservative seminaries, and the leadership, both lay and clerical, has come to be dominated by conservatives. Peripheral issues such as the status of homosexuals, have dominated conversation, leading to accusations that the national church is acting contrary to scripture, and prompting the Diocese to systematically distance itself from The Episcopal Church (TEC). As a lawyer, I was astonished when the Diocese announced that it would observe the constitution of the church but not follow any canons (i.e., laws) that were inconsistent with the Diocesan canons, even though each of the national canons was duly enacted by the delegates elected to TEC’s triennial conventions. That’s the same as a state saying that it will respect the Constitution of the United States but decide for itself which laws enacted by Congress it will obey. Shades of 1861.
The letters address the remarks of the Presiding Bishop of TEC at the recent convention of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a convention called to elect a provisional bishop because the Diocese had declared that it had left TEC, thereby leaving many loyal Episcopalians without a bishop. Many of those present had been told that their views were no longer welcome in their own parishes. The Presiding Bishop was understandably distressed by the actions of the wayward Diocese, but her closing remarks were in the context of trying to maintain a loving relationship with those whose differing views had caused them to leave. She admonished the listeners not to make angry responses to those who differ and who may be following what they hear as the voice of the Good Shepherd, but instead to try to heal the breach, since “the banquet table is spread with abundance for all” and we’re all invited to the feast. I hope that those who continue to follow the traditional Episcopal middle way will respond to her invitation.
Plenty of time
to correct course
Now that New Years’ resolutions may have been forgotten, here is a little inspiration to get you back on course.
On July 16th 1969 the Apollo 11 launched its 240,000 mile journey to the moon. What percentage of time do you think they were on course? Since the mission was a success, you would expect that they were on course most of the time. In reality, they were on course only 3 percent of the trip! The other 97 percent of the time the astronauts worked to recognize they were going off course, made the necessary adjustments and continued on their journey.
The same applies on your journey to optimal health. You set a goal to lose weight which, for some, may seem as lofty as a trip to the moon. Some of the time you will be on course but other times you will fall off your path. Like the Apollo mission, you need to recognize when you are off course, make adjustments and get back on track. Persistence is the path to success.
Set your goal. Picture what your life would be like when you reach your goal. Think about how your life would benefit by reaching your goal. Start your journey. Anticipate setbacks and when they occur, learn from them and get back on course again. Lastly, use your support system. The astronauts did not get there without Houston Control. Your support system is there to help you especially when you need help getting back on track.
Dr. Nicholas J. Pennings
North Myrtle Beach
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