Letters to the editor Feb. 22

How can state afford chef for Legislature?

I am a sophomore, and I have a couple of questions for the legislators.

If the state is so broke, how can they afford to hire a private chef for only $2 per day per person? Where is the rest of the money coming from? What happened to supporting the local economy that depends so much on these four months every other year?

I know that everyone is very busy, but a personal professional chef, really? What pocket of money did they find to pay for all this convenience because $2 per person doesn't even begin to pay for such service.

I do not think that you are setting a very good example if you are spending taxpayer money for this perk.

Justin Yonkers

Carson City

Washington's talk is not being walked

I'm a military retiree, and recently received an amended retiree account statement that showed an increase in the monthly federal income tax withholding for 2011 of 7.7 times what had been withheld in 2010. Upon contacting the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, I was informed that the increase was the result of changes enacted by Congress in 2010, "the Lame Duck Congress."

Last year, I recalled that President Obama stated in his tax plan, the middle class would not see a thin dime's increase in their taxes. I wrote to President Obama, no reply yet, Sen. Reid and Sen. Ensign, no reply yet, and Congressman Heller asking for an explanation of the apparent discrepancy between the president's statement - intent? - and the recently passed laws. Senator Reid's and Congressman Heller's response revealed how, i.e., in which laws, the increase happened, but not why the laws did not reflect the president's stated intent to the middle class.

I have referenced the IRS publications for 2010 and 2011 that address withholding tax, and I am able to confirm the values that apply to my case.

I'm increasingly concerned that the Washington talk is not being walked. How about you? If your withheld tax in 2011 has increased, let your voice be heard on Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol Hill and at the ballot box.

Carleton Bingham


Make a difference in the life of senior pets

Cheers to Teri Dickerson for writing this wonderful article about the need for adopting senior animals.

I, too, recently visited the Humane Society and saw the heartbreakers that were the senior dogs and cats. Hopefully, this piece will filter into the community enough to make a difference in the lives of these animals who have given so much and asked so little in return. It is now that they need forever homes in order to make their last years comfortable and filled with love.

I have three senior dogs myself, having just adopted one that is at least 10 years of age. They are the best.

Thank you so much again, Teri, for this informational and hopeful article.

Diane Bachman

Carson City

Seek alternative ways to cut budget, not salaries

Regarding proposed cuts to the livelihoods of state employees, I would like to point out that I switched from private sector employment 20 years ago to state employment with the good-faith understanding that guarantees of cost-of-living raises and adequate health and retirement benefits were critical elements of the employment package offered by the state.

Rather than rely upon Social Security, I pro-actively sought employment that promised an adequate retirement pension. Rather than do without health insurance, I pro-actively secured employment that promised adequate health coverage, even though the low salary has forced me to work a second part-time job throughout most of my state service.

Now I find that not only have I not received a cost-of-living pay increase since 2008, my income has been cut 4.6 percent. My health insurance costs have increased, and with pending additional deductible costs and cuts to coverage, I, like many state employees, find myself contemplating a reluctant boycott of all health services.

My retirement plan has also been adversely affected, and ironically, the fact that I even have a state plan means I will not receive the full Social Security benefits to which I have been contributing as a private sector employee since the age of 15.

Now, the governor wants to impose a 5 percent income tax on state workers, who, incidentally, already pay the same taxes as everyone else. It's time to stop punishing state workers and seek alternative remedies.

Dianna Moses

Carson City


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