On tax increases and the cost of government

Dear Editor:

First - I am highly skeptical that Proposition 100 will be a three-year tax - as a point of reference we had a Federal Telephone Excise tax that was imposed in 1898 and it was repealed or expired three times in 1902, 1916 and 1924, but each time it was reinstated by Congress. It was finally removed about 100 years later.

Who is to say that Prop 100 will not be extended in Arizona in three years because our elected officials pass laws and they can at a future date modify them.

Now to local issues:

If our fire and police agencies would "tighten their belts," meaning no more cost-of-living adjustments for all retired and current employees that would be a meaningful start. As a point of reference I retired in 1997 from a major corporation and I have not received one penny of a pension increase in that time period.

They should also freeze all hiring and do a top to bottom salary reduction - from 20 percent at the top down to 5 percent for all entry-level personnel.

Let's stop the "double dipping," meaning when you go out the front door on day one of retirement and return by the side door for another job - while collecting your pension, in the same entity. That has to end.

Stop the "spiking" process where our "public employees" can inflate their last year salary to enhance their pension via overtime, etc. - let's do a five-year averaging to level the process.

In the private sector you can be eligible to retire after 30 years or when your age and years of service equal 85. Let's get that guideline enacted in the public sector - no more out at 20 years.

Plus, I find it hard to understand the number of public employees in Arizona that are earning above $100K.

Truly a time for a change!

Jim Jochim

Inform, don't advise

Dear Editor:

I wanted to express my approval of AFN's recent publication of two articles regarding public health. Earlier this year, I wrote a letter to the editor criticizing a column written by a holistic medicine business owner who represented common foods as toxic. I interpreted that column as a sensationalized, fear mongering advertisement. As for the columns I am writing about now, both stand on the other, better side of the responsibility fence.

The column, "Foods to avoid during pregnancy" (AFN, April 14), gives out public health advice, as did the article I criticized earlier. The difference: this author, Dr. Michael Urig, is the chief of OB/GYN at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. This is a source whose advice we can trust. We know the author is well researched and is backed by a well known and trusted public health organization.

The article, "Ahwatukee holistic center offers alternatives in medicine" (AFN, April 16), is about a local holistic medicine center. It does not contain advice, does not promote the business as better than others, nor does it discount conventional medicinal practices. The article simply informs, which is the primary goal of journalism.

The giving of public health advice is a treacherous sea fraught with ethical dangers. These two articles were piloted by capable captains. Kudos on both counts.

Erik Nelson


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