Tax cuts a mistake when roads are a mess
I vehemently disagree with the ongoing cuts to various taxes across our state. Going through with these changes is akin to buying expensive paint to dress up a condemned house.
Legislators claim the state budget has a surplus; in reality, our tax monies are allocated improperly.
None of our most important employees are compensated appropriately. Not even our Division of Highway officials earn a fair salary.
West Virginia’s road problems are extremely prominent. The Roads to Prosperity program is likely underfunded and extremely slow. General highway maintenance is nonexistent. Ditches remain blocked, and damaged trees only get removed if they actually fall instead of being preventatively trimmed. The only maintenance that seems to happen is the traffic control lines continuing to be repainted.
Whose idea was it to repaint broken roads?
Locally, Spruce Street in Morgantown is literally warped. Just across the bridge from Spruce Street to Brockway Avenue, you can find places where the road is completely worn away, showing leftover tracks from the streetcar program that ended in 1934. Brockway Avenue is also known as W.Va. 7 — which is a state highway.
With respect to the facts listed above, I strongly suggest our state’s government reconsider its ideas and methods of cutting taxes.
Instead of cutting taxes in a way that mostly benefits large corporations, I suggest the elimination of income taxes on certain benefits: Social Security, U.S. pensions and state employee pensions.
This reduction would be attractive to our senior citizens. It would make moving to or staying in West Virginia more attractive than other states, such as Florida or Pennsylvania. Our surrounding states already exempt one or more of these income sources from subjection to taxes. Why don’t we?
Don’t need bureaucrats in D.C. in charge of water
The Dominion Post’s Feb. 15 editorial asked the question “Why doesn’t Sen. Capito support more clean water?”
The simple answer is that the new “Waters of the United States” rule is another overreach by the Biden administration. One would have thought he would have learned from his overreach with his energy policies.
My son lives in the Teton Valley of Idaho surrounded by the Tetons, the Snake River Range and the Big Hole Mountains. Teton County and the surrounding counties are the largest potato-producing area in the U.S.
For much of the year, the valley streams are low flow. But when the spring snow melt occurs, the stream flow is significant. For generations, local farmers, ranchers and the recreation industry/enthusiasts — white water rafters, kayakers and fisherman — have decided who can extract water from the streams and when.
Generally speaking, my son has access to the water for his three acres 2-3 weeks after the farmers and ranchers. So the locals manage the water.
The Biden administration wants some bureaucrat sitting behind their desk in Washington to make the decision of who gets water and when in the Teton Valley. Opps! Since two-thirds of D.C. bureaucrats work from home, they will probably make this decision while watching a Lakers game.
On March 9, the U.S. House voted 227-198 to overturn the water rules. Sen. Manchin has pledged to overturn the water rules when the resolution arrives in the Senate. Twenty-three states have filed suits against the water rules.
And the National Cattlemen’s Association, the National Corn Grower Association, the Pork Producers Council, the U.S. Egg and Poultry Association and the National Home Builders Association are among 18 plaintiffs who have filed against Biden’s water rules.
So Capito isn’t alone. And I would rather trust the farmer than a D.C. bureaucrat.
Instead of ‘Bonus bad,’ try ‘Stupid on steroids’
The Dominion Post’s post-legislative session “The Good, the Bad and the Stupid” editorial for Thursday, March 16, was especially interesting in part because it added the category, “Bonus bad.”
I suggest that diverting public pre-K through secondary education funds from public schools might rather be termed “Super stupid” or “Stupid on steroids” (SOS).
Much has been made of retaining our “best and brightest” and attracting young adults to live and work in West Virginia. High on most, perhaps all, economic development lists for attracting productive people to West Virginia is such soft infrastructure as education, health care and recreation opportunities for parenting and, later in life, grandparenting.
Hard infrastructure is important, but productive people seek opportunities not only for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren.
We should be improving our public schools as we have our health care and recreation attractors. Charter and parochial schools add choices, but they generally are private rather than public in nature and are supported generally by those who choose and pay for them (public and private colleges and universities, for example).
It is often said that good public schools are vital to public and private interests governed of, by and for the people. Our public schools should be the way our government provides public goods to that end.
OLLI a great benefit for older adults
We started taking OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) classes shortly after we retired in January 2017. We had heard good things about OLLI from other members, but it took actually signing up for classes to realize the treasure-trove of opportunities that awaited us.
We started to try to list some of the classes we’ve had but, in checking our transcripts, we realize we have taken over 500 classes each. Wow! What a bargain! Classes are taught by volunteers who genuinely love teaching. The topics are wide-ranging and fulfilling.
OLLI has been blessed with a dedicated administrative staff. Jascenna Haislet is the director. She is organized, energetic, enthusiastic and fun. Diane Cale runs the office and handles the many details of keeping track of us. Michelle Klishis is our computer guru. She is very knowledgeable about all things computer. She teaches classes on a variety of computer-related matters and helps us when we bring in our own personal computer problems.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, these three people wasted no time in switching to Zoom classes. They got classes set up and trained people in using Zoom. New equipment was then brought in to offer hybrid classes. Air cleaners were installed in the classrooms. Now we have a better situation than before, with the option to attend in-person or on Zoom, along with recordings that we can watch later. We can now share classes with the OLLI group in Charleston. We’ve also been able to access classes from other parts of the country.
We marvel at the new friends we’ve made — people we never would have met in our ordinary lives.
It’s hard to describe all that is offered through this program. We invite you to check it out. You don’t have to sign up for as many classes as we do, but we invite you to try a few.
Orientation sessions are now available for new members. If you’re like us, you’ll be hooked for life.
Maurice and Lynn Baker