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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 09, 2017 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Tax hike a symbol of city's commitment

As we contemplate increasing Allen County's local income tax rate by 0.15 percent to fund improvements to sidewalks, alleyways and riverfront, we must be mindful of the bigger picture. Infrastructure improvements and maintenance require us to do the hard stuff first – to agree to pay a little more each year to benefit our community now and later.

The board of directors for Artlink unanimously endorses efforts to maintain and improve our city's access, safety and, ultimately, to attract more people to choose Fort Wayne as home. It remains critical to draw and retain talent here for a thriving arts community, and this ordinance will ultimately help us reach that goal. As our downtown continues to evolve, the riverfront development will contribute to the vibrant quality of place, and its proximity will positively enhance the arts campus and surrounding areas.

We acknowledge the funding limitations resulting from the Indiana property tax cap passed in 2010, and as civic-minded members we support and encourage our colleagues, friends and fellow residents to support this ordinance as we do. Reach out to your City Council representative and voice your support of the small increase to yield substantial gain. Attend the public hearing at 5:30 p.m. July 11 at Citizen Square and urge friends to do the same. Doing the hard stuff first will garner much return later.

Jan Venderly

President, Artlink Board of Directors 

Sidewalks are priority if investing in future

I have serious concerns about the use of our city income tax dollars, particularly an increase of same, currently before the City Council.

I seriously question the allocation of funding both repairing city sidewalks and alleys for the safety of school children combined with riverfront development. This equates the two projects as of equal importance. They are not.

One is a safety issue and the other a matter of (adult?) recreation and appearances. Why not allocate the current city income tax funds, at the existing rate, to get the sidewalk and alley repairs done ASAP? Then fund the riverfront development with the Coliseum food tax (this was extended to 2026, with the original debt long since paid) or use private investment?

If city sidewalks and alleys are considered unsafe for use by our schoolchildren, why is this repair even an issue? How long has this been a child safety problem? Where was the City Council during this time? The mayor? Why be concerned about riverfront development if the safety of our children is truly at stake? Where would our tax dollars be most sensibly spent? After all, our children are our best investment for the future.

Samuel Conte

Fort Wayne

Resettling refugees is counter to intent

The focus of the local World Refugee Day declaration is troubling. It appears to concentrate on a relatively small number of immigrants to the exclusion of caring for the world's 65.6 million refugees.

It is wonderful that Fort Wayne has accepted 7,000 refugees, but Americans need to realize that even President Barack Obama's refugee quotas were mere tokenism.

Refugee status was intended to be a temporary condition. International refugee law directs neighboring countries to shelter refugees until they can return to their country of origin. There is no requirement to grant citizenship or even allow refugees to work.

The United States is responsible for creating a large percentage of the worlds' war refugees, but we are not taking responsibility for caring for them.

Resettling refugees in this county is a trendy feel-good activity that produces a sense of moral superiority, but it is not a solution to the growing refugee crisis.

The current refugee population is reproducing faster than it can be integrated into First World countries. It is regrettable that so many progressive-minded people focus on a fraction of 1 percent to the detriment of the 99 percent.

World Refugee Day should be about fully funding the care of current refugees and ending the wars and conditions that create refugees. Where is the demand to tax war profits to fund war refugees?

TIM TIERNON

Fort Wayne

Banks disingenuous over health care bill

Rep. Jim Banks' June 25 piece suggesting that he supports the GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act to protect Indiana's medical device industry assumes that his constituents are poorly educated and ill-informed.

His argument that he was protecting Indiana jobs flies in the face of the Washington Post's recent report that the biggest threat to Indiana's medical device industry is its inability to hire people with the necessary skills. His further argument that the 2.3 percent medical device tax in the Affordable Care Act was a heavy burden on the industry is belied by the fact, as he concedes, that it was suspended in 2016 with the support of many Democrats because the tax was simply being passed onto consumers. Nowhere does he explain why he could not have voted simply to make the suspension permanent if it was such a great burden.

Banks voted for the American Health Care Act because Speaker Paul Ryan told him to, and he did not want to face a primary challenge from further to the right in 2018. The effect of the bill is to take $1 trillion in health care away from the poorest Americans (including children, the aged and the working poor) and provide $800 billion in tax relief to the wealthiest Americans. If you are good with that, support Banks in 2018, but do not believe the nonsense he set forth in his op-ed.

Terry Nilles

Fort Wayne

CHEERS to a stranger at the Waynedale Kroger. I was about $20 short for my bill. I was telling the cashier to cash me out and let the person behind me go and I would start taking things out from my cart. This kind gentleman asked me how much I needed, and he paid my bill. I was going through a very stressful time, and this was a bright spot that warmed my heart. I can't thank this person enough. I would like to apologize for taking so long to write this letter. This happened about three weeks ago. Sorry for the delay.

Cynthia Ramey-Smeltzer

Fort Wayne

Patriotic anthem has words for Trump

Donald Trump, a Christian only for the sake of convenience, always talks about making the country great again. It would be nice if he paid attention to the second verse of “America the Beautiful” which states: “…God mend thine every flaw,/Confirm thy soul in self-control,/Thy liberty in law!”

Unfortunately, I fear that's too much to hope for.

Patricia G. Stahlhut

Fort Wayne