North Main becomes financial sinkhole
It is hard to disregard the outrage that this situation produces.
Columbia City Council is forgiving a loan to the Eau Claire Development Corp. to the tune of almost $700,000 for the North Main Plaza. This project, which was started in 2003, has not been successful even in better economic times.
Meanwhile, City Council has voted to saddle the city's taxpayers with millions of dollars in new taxes, for the next two and a half decades, for additional work in the same area.
All of this is going on while the city laments its inability to fund water and sewer projects, patrol cars, fire engines and the bus system. One has to wonder if Mayor Bob Coble and council members Tameika Isaac Devine, E.W. Cromartie and Sam Davis are even paying attention. In a sad bit of irony, I guess it is only fitting that Mayor Coble will leave the city's taxpayers with a 25-year reminder of his tenure.
Energy efficiency is the smart way to go
As a citizen intervenor in the Public Service Commission's review of SCE&G's application to build the two nuclear power plants, I totally agree with Larry Newton's guest column Tuesday about energy efficiency. During the hearing, an outside consultant, Nancy Brockway, testified that South Carolina has tremendous opportunities in the area of energy efficiency. Instead of making that the first priority, the PSC decided to grant permission to construct the nuclear plants, while asking SCE&G to present a plan for increased efficiency. That seems backwards to me. We should first do everything we can to reduce our consumption of energy and then determine what, if any, needs still remain, and whether those needs can best be met by nuclear or other alternative sources of power.
The proposal before the Senate to provide tangible incentives for homeowners to invest in energy efficiency is the smart way to go. Let's do it.
Texting ban only a part of safety issue
My staff and I use our cell phones and radios for business, and I support a ban on texting and using handheld phones while driving.
While we are at it, let's ban book reading, applying makeup and having a dog in your lap while driving. I have seen all of these type drivers, normally in the center lane of the interstate, without a clue, holding up everyone else. Please use common sense while driving; it may save a life.
Facing facts about U.S. deficit problem
We are running a large federal budget deficit this year, and it will continue next year.
The reason is not a lot of spending growth in the regular budget (except the military), but rather the fact that the Obama administration has had to deal with the fiscal crisis brought on by the chicanery of the Wall Street banks, investment firms and insurance companies. Also, it has had to deal with the recession that resulted from those actions.
That spending on job creation has been too little and much too late. But our large deficit in the short term has not deterred investors from buying U.S. bonds almost as fast as they can be printed.
The problem is not the short-term deficit but controlling the federal budget in the mid- to longer term. It is essential that we raise revenue and cut back on spending.
Everyone in leadership positions knows this. But few will say it out loud. Taxes must be raised. And yet the administration's policy to let the current law on tax exemptions expire is meeting fierce opposition. Further, the effort to rein in Medicare costs has met the scare tactic of "death panels."
We can't have it both ways. Beyond the short-term need for deficit spending, we cannot continue to cut taxes and raise spending. Our future as a nation and our stature in the world depend on our willingness to face this issue head on.
ROBERT J. WILDE
Tax refunds are waste of your money
It is said that the difference between the wealthy and the rest is "nickels and interest" - in other words, the value of money.
So many view a tax refund as a "present," but it is nothing more than getting your own money back at no interest. Those who indulge in that flawed concept either don't understand the value of money, are outright lazy or are willing to turn their money, if not their existence, over to others.
It is easy to control your tax position through your W-4 form and quarterly updating: match your W-4 to your anticipated tax liability, Actually it's fun. There's nothing automatic about it; you control. If you can't do that, please turn in your high school diploma and your voting card, if you have them. Other people just love your money, including the tax preparers. Pay attention to detail, and as they say, get with the program.
And teach your children well.