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Sunday, January 11, 2004

2004 Agenda: Taxes, growth among top issues for year



As a resident of Hamilton County and Ohio, the Enquirer's biggest source of readers, I can't think of a bigger issue than local and state taxes and their effect on growth. Paradoxically, our solidly conservative leadership has led us into one of the highest spending patterns in the state (Hamilton County) and in the nation (Ohio).

Of course, higher and higher taxes have been needed to pay for this spending. Is it any wonder that Hamilton County is one of the slowest-growing urban counties in the nation, or that Ohio is one of the slowest-growing states in the country? Both of my Gen X daughters live in other states, as do almost all of their well-educated friends.

With the defeat of Issue 1, but its possible resurrection in 2004 and the effort to the repeal the 1 percent sales tax increase, how can taxes and growth not be one of our biggest issues?

Tom Hagedorn, Anderson Township

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Ohio still hasn't fixed school-funding mess

In regards to the editorial "2004 Agenda; school-funding lawsuits cost taxpayers" (Jan. 4), the Enquirer has omitted and misrepresented critical issues.

Ohio's school-funding system remains unconstitutional, per five Supreme Court decisions. Yet legislators willfully defied Supreme Court orders for a "complete and systematic overhaul" reducing the "over-reliance on property taxes" by enacting an illegal budget reducing school funding 21 percent and increasing the property tax over-reliance by forcing schools to enact property taxes. Lawmakers have been so brash because special interests have stacked the Ohio Supreme Court with rubber-stamp judges who will not enforce their own decisions or the sanctity of the Ohio Constitution.

Critical 2004 issues:

• Will Ohio retake constitutional state government by election of legislators and Supreme Court judges who'll actually follow our Constitution?

• Will Ohio fix the unconstitutional school funding system with a "complete and systematic overhaul" that reduces the over-reliance on property taxes? The fix must provide adequate funding and eliminate the structural disparity issues, including the state's tax on local schools.

John Gray, Summerside

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Borders, security need more attention

In response to the "2004 Agenda" question about what should be covered and how, I would like to see regular coverage on the state of our national security with particular respect to the borders and control thereof. I can find stories on the Internet almost daily about the flow of illegal aliens (some of whom have attacked and/or killed law enforcement officers), some of whom are terrorists and all of whom are criminals that the federal government is not even trying hard to stop.

Our military forces are being sent just about everywhere in the world except to our very own borders, where they are needed the most. As part of the coverage, I would like to see the media in general and the Enquirer in particular as part of this coverage try and force our congressmen, senators and president to explain why it is they won't properly fund and arm the Border Patrol agents already working on the front lines of this battle, and why it is they won't increase the number of agents in the Border Patrol, and most important, why they won't put military units on the border to assist with the influx of criminal aliens pouring into this country.

Matt Briedis, Withamsville

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Crime is eating away at our lovely city

We the people of the city of Cincinnati are in a crisis, a crisis that could hurt the way that our city is perceived in the eyes of everyone in the nation. Violent crimes are becoming more and more what Cincinnati is about, instead of education, fine arts, sports or just how beautiful our city is and the reasons why anyone should want to come to visit or to raise a family.

As parents and citizens of our respected communities, we the people of Cincinnati needs to try to take back our streets and make them safe once again. In doing so, we have to keep in mind that the people committing these horrible crimes are the same ones who are also the victims. You and I are as much a victim as the deceased citizens that we know of thus far.

Since moving back to our fair city 10 years ago, I've found that more than 50 love ones' friends, former students or athletes of mine have become victims of our mean streets.

I wish that there were easy answers to the situation, but there isn't a quick fix. It's my belief that we've turned our backs on the less fortunate and the crimes on our streets in exchange for our own personal goals and activities that only surrounds our circles.

It's about time for an about-face, and let's all do our part to embrace everyone as a citizen - and not just the obvious good citizen, but the underprivileged as well.

Vincent L. Ward, Avondale; baseball and football coach, Woodward High School




SUNDAY FORUM
In search of redemption
Readers' views on Pete Rose
Remembering Rose's banishment
The whole truth can help you clear your conscience
Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers

EDITORIAL PAGE HEADLINES
Time for action against killings
Church audit only covers the basics
2004 Agenda: Taxes, growth among top issues for year
Social Security, health care hot topics for readers
War casualties in Iraq pale in historic terms
Letters to the editor