Letters for February 17, 2011

Late or never?

During the latter 1990s and early 2000s, casinos and schools in Clark County could not be built fast enough. Taxpayer-funded services struggled to keep up with providing adequate services due to the influx of workers with families to fill the ballooning, mostly low-paying positions caused by this huge growth spurt. An effort was made during that time to increase gaming taxes in order to help pay for the services needed due to their expansion. The cry was made that we would be killing the Golden Goose if we taxed casinos “out of business.”

So, gaming continues to pay a meager 6.75 percent, tops, in Nevada and well into the two-digit percentiles in other places. Also, due to the modest progressivity of the gross gaming tax, which allows smaller casinos a lower rate, the rate can get down to around 6.2 percent. The 6.75 percent rate applies only to high-volume operations. But they, too, pay the lower percentages on their first few hundred thousand each month.

The local news has reported Nevada is No. 50 in high school graduation and academic achievement rates. On Jan. 26, Dr. Heath Morrison of the Washoe County School District reported in his State of Education address that Nevada is also 51st in the nation (including Washington, D.C.) in child readiness to begin their schooling.

In my mind, these two figures surely have a correlation, which does not necessarily include the talent and/or failure of classroom teachers. In computer language it would be referred to as “garbage in/garbage out!” However, I do not consider any child garbage. On top of that, two days ago on local news, it was reported that Nevada also has the highest rate of illegal immigrants of any state in the United States. Again, I do not personally have any animosity towards parents who attempt to find a better life for their children. It merely is what it is, and we need to deal with “it” responsibly.

Perhaps I oversimplify, but it seems as though our current budget problem can be traced back to the gaming industry and its lack of support of the institutions for which it caused need. It is my hope that our legislators will seriously revisit increasing gaming taxes as a contributing solution to Nevada’s budget shortfall. I don’t want to hear that they can’t afford it because Indian Casinos are taking away their business, etc. It’s my understanding our gaming industry has casinos in other states and nations as well and, in those other places, they all pay much higher gaming taxes. Why should they not be called upon to pay their fair share of the expenses they have caused in their own state?

I’m afraid the Golden Goose has turned into a Sacred Cow. It’s time to milk the Cow.

Charlotte Brothwell

Government diet

In December 2010, the Federal Obamaites signed into law an initiative broadening the government’s reach into our school cafeterias. Mrs. Obama asserted, “We can’t just leave it up to the parents to feed our children.” On the one hand, she argues that 31 million kids would go hungry without free lunches. On the other hand, she says they are too obese. The answer: more government?

Of course, self-control and discipline are the last things government is qualified to teach. The real obesity problem is a power-hungry government. Only wise, non-obese voters can solve this real national problem. Don’t vote for obesity. Vote for a wise and frugal constitutionally obedient government.

Richard Westrup

American dream

The fruits of our democratic republic are not democratically distributed.

As a result of the Reagan tax cuts of the ’80s and the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, the top 5 percent of people own 62 percent of our country’s wealth.

As of last March 31, the Federal Reserve Board reported the net worth of all Americans was $54.6 trillion; the top 1 percent (1 million households) each has a net worth of $8.3 million.

An annual “wealth tax” of 1 percent on $54.6 trillion would yield $546 billion.

So, assuming we Nevadans are “normal” Americans, free of avarice, corruption, or other flaws, we with a state budget of $6.5 billion should thrive with an annual wealth tax of about $11 billion.

Walden Joura

Open communication

Re “Drug tests” (Feature story, July 8, 2010):

I can’t thank you enough for writing such an informative, first-person account of these “legal” drugs. Thank goodness you survived such an ordeal! These substances are steadily gaining an overwhelming amount of popularity. I find myself increasingly surprised that this is, as of yet, the only source containing the slightest bit of the ever important, sociologically significant information on the topic available on the internet with the necessary convenience (that I was able to find, at least). Speaking from first-hand experience, like yourself, with the multitude of side effects caused by, specifically, the “concentrated bath salts,” I am in complete awe that even the basic risk level has yet to be taken into consideration in the slightest. Even the ever-important public awareness factor has yet to be raised. I must admit, while not-so secretly hoping to shed some light on the fact that I do, actually, have a bit of knowledge on the subject, that I am being somewhat (largely) hypocritical since I have tried it and, to be completely honest, quite enjoyed myself. While also having, for lack of a better word, “experience” with its illegal counterpart, I can honestly say that these “bath salts” are far more attractive and addictive, with no regard to its “legal” label.

Although making anything “illegal” unfortunately does not stop the distribution of the product nearly enough—while sometimes creating an even bigger issue—these new drugs need public exposure with many more accessible sources of information and to be taken out of the ever-so-convenient head shops and into the control of authorities. They are all far too attractive to be made so convenient. For a girl from Ohio to have only been able to find this one article from a previously unheard of news outlet based out of such a distant location as the only place to voice any opinion on the topic is absolutely ridiculous. Unless something, anything, is done about this new “rage,” someone will be unintentionally and seriously harmed.

Sarah Peacock
Kent, Ohio

Visiting hours

Re “Yours, mine, hours” (Filet of Soul, Feb. 3):

I have visited this church when I get to visit my family in Reno. Each time I have been there, Pastor Tom and the congregation are as you have written. Each time I hear him, I am thinking about what he said hours later. Thank you for your clear and truthful review.

Bonnie Powers
Dallas, Texas

Don’t be a stranger

Re “Yours, mine, hours” (Filet of Soul, Feb. 3):

We serve an Almighty Awesome God to which none can compare! From your article on Calvary Chapel Reno Sparks church it sounds as though God was speaking to you. That is how personal the God of the Bible is. He knows us by name, and the scriptures tell us that the very hairs upon our head are all numbered. He knows everything about us—after all, He is our creator, contrary to what the schools may teach. It was great to have you at our church, and please know you are welcome anytime, don’t be a stranger! If you would like to know God more personally and learn more about what God has spoken to us through the Bible, we have a Tuesday Night Men’s Bible study led by Pastor Tom. It starts at 7 p.m. every Tuesday evening. It is held here at the church in our cafe. I hope to see you there and may God bless you!

Scott Cresta
via email