End mortgage deduction
In response to the Rev. Matthew Schultz's moral duty commentary (May 15):
Market systems do not create levels of poverty, politics do. The greatest political disparities are the mortgage-interest and other real-estate tax deductions, which save you more the bigger your mortgage and the higher your income-tax rate. They cost the government north of $130 billion a year, more than 70 percent of which goes to the richest 20 percent of Americans. Ending the mortgage-interest deduction could fund affordable medical care instead of helping the wealthy pay for their houses (and second houses).
Price is a dominant factor when discussing a home purchase. We actually buy for the same reasons our parents and grandparents did — we want a secure and better lifestyle for our families and ourselves.
— Karl Schroeder
Eastman's bills are nonsense
I read with dismay Tuesday's ADN of two new bills introduced on Monday by Wasilla Rep. David Eastman, and said to myself: Seriously? Apparently being censured by his fellow legislators just last week for his outrageous comments and actions has had little effect. He is not pushing "socially conservative legislation" as the article stated; he is pushing radical right-wing-nut legislation. Did he not pass his high school civics class or American history, or even Alaska state history? Does he not know nor comprehend the Rule of Law as set out in the constitutions, both of the United States and the state of Alaska?
I'm a longtime Alaskan, voted in every election. Where are the Chancy Crofts, the Jay Kerttulas, Gene Chances, Nels Andersons, Thelma Buckholdts and the Clark Gruenings? Are there no longer any voices of reason or public conscience in Juneau? People who work for the betterment of their fellow Alaskan, not their own religious or political beliefs? Each of us has the freedom to worship or believe in his or her own way, but not the right to force those beliefs on others, either through intimidation or legislation. Perhaps those of us who just couldn't say "Yes to Wes" any longer now rue that decision.
— Susan K. Fegert
Cutting AGDC funding will only hurt Alaska's economy
Last Thursday evening the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. provided an update on the status of the project at the Houston Middle School in Houston. My wife, Mary Jane, and I went to the poorly attended briefing and were both pleasantly surprised to learn that the AGDC is still making progress. Even after the three oil companies dropped out last year. They have all the data and information that was put together when the oil companies were participating and are using it to continue on with the project.
We both believe that the fact that this project is still progressing is the main reason that the housing market in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley is staying on track as well as it is.
The next morning we read in your paper that at the last minute, state Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, had amended the proposed budget and cut $50 million dollars from the AGDC. It was a discouraging surprise but I know Sen. Dunleavy does not think about our state's future. All he can say is cut, cut, cut.
Today we read that Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer has the foresight to object to cutting AGDC funding. He obviously sees that the gas line project is making progress and realizes how important the project is to all Alaskans. We would like to thank Rep. Seaton and hope he is successful.
I suggest that people who are not aware of AGDC's progress take a look at their website at agdc.us and or attend one of their informative briefings when they hold one nearby. I also suggest contacting your state representative and ask him or her to support AGDC funding. A gas line will turn our state's economy around big time, but more and more budget cuts certainly will not.
— Fred Nelius
Print newspaper still worth it
I was applauding all the way through Jacqueline Fries' May 16 Letter to the Editor ("Don't want paper to disappear"). It's sad that the only newspaper in the largest city in the largest state is apparently in financial straits. Pleas for the ADN to print unbiased news are really unnecessary. As long as readers recognize bias, they can go online and get any slant of any story they want. One thing for sure — the Alaska Dispatch News is the only paper that prints excellent Alaska pictures and doings. The curly paper is fine, the additional color is fine, the comics and games are good, and the national news is OK even though we read it online a day or two earlier. Please keep printing a real hold-in-my-hand-while-I-have-my-morning-coffee paper.
P. S. I sympathize with James Bachman, who must now wrap his fish in something other than the Sunday TV Guide. It's cumbersome to use the remote's Guide feature, but maybe he can do that on Saturday morning when he used to be reading the newspaper.
— Myra Barnes
May is NF Awareness Month
Imagine being told that your child has a disorder for which there are few medical treatments and no cure. That's what happened to me 10 years ago when my daughter was first diagnosed with neurofibromatosis (NF).
NF is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and can result in blindness, deafness, bone abnormalities, disfigurement, learning disabilities, disabling pain and even cancer. With no cure and few treatment options, everything felt hopeless. Then I started to realize how courageous my daughter is; she was fighting NF with strength, dignity and even a sense of humor.
Well, I stopped being hopeless and became a fighter, too. I joined forces with the Children's Tumor Foundation (CTF), the largest nonprofit organization in the country committed to ending NF through research. CTF believes that full-scale collaboration will lead to solutions for NF. That alliance includes not only clinicians, researchers and other experts in the field, but patients and their families, too.
May is NF Awareness Month, and I invite other Alaskans to fight with our family by learning more about NF at www.ctf.org.
— Carrie Beeman
Oil company subsidies should rank lower than state needs
I understand Alaska is in a partnership with the oil industry.
Alaska splits the earnings with the oil industry, and finally writes additional checks to oil companies when the industry fails to earn the profits the oil industry believes they should.
The difference between oil industry "expected" profits and their losses shouldn't be rewarded or paid by taking from the community until the oil industry's bottom line is satisfied.
No matter how Alaska education is packaged, it is simply the easiest money to take and repurpose in order to satisfy the oil industry's appetite.
The funds are being taken from more than education. Moneys are taken from all facets of the Alaska community equaling more than $1 billion of tax programs, subsidies and state credits payable to the richest industry in the world — even if the oil industry fails to produce or if the market isn't buying.
The Alaska Legislature needs to pass a plan prioritizing our community and our students above oil industry subsidies and tax credits. This can be done by thinking about ways to create revenue and other industries that would benefit the state's earning potential.
With that, the Alaska Legislature's uncertainty, missed deadlines, and lack of proactive planning should not be rewarded with overtime and additional per diem. This responsibility should be fulfilled as part of the job they agreed to, at no additional cost to the citizens of Alaska.
— Lance Smith
STEM program great, but …
It is exciting to read in Monday's paper about the new STEM school being developed at Campbell Elementary in Anchorage. There is only one comment in the article that sours the story. It says that the Campbell teachers who have attended out-of-state STEM trainings to prepare for the new program have done so at their own cost.
As a retired ASD librarian and a fervent supporter of public education and the teachers who deliver it, I am disappointed that the contributions of the STEM teachers are not more recognized and supported by having their training expenses fully covered within the district budget.
— Jeanne Ashcraft
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