Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3
Small businesses get tax relief
The Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax relief we've seen in three decades.
Small business owners like me — and the millions of employees who depend on us — couldn't ask for a better Christmas present. For years, our nation's job creators have been inundated with high tax rates and complex filing costs. Many small business owners are taxed at individual rates, which can reach 40 percent at the federal level. Throw in state and local taxes, and these job creators are often left sending 50 percent of their income to Uncle Sam.
The Republican tax plan allows them to keep more of their hard-earned money, freeing up resources for business expansion and job creation. America is home to nearly 30 million small businesses, which employ roughly 60 million workers — half of the U.S. workforce. Tax cuts would encourage job creators to hire even more Americans.
When small business succeeds, we all succeed. Let's ring in the New Year with pro-growth tax cuts.
Joseph Semprevivo, Sebastian
The writer is president and CEO of Joseph's Lite Cookies.
Trump gives official endorsement to Moore Dec. 5
Immoral acts overlooked
The Republican Party continues to demonstrate a lack of moral clarity despite the vast cultural shift on sexual harassment currently underway. In an interview with CBS, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shifted his stance and refused to condemn Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been credibly accused of child molestation. Previously, McConnell was on record as believing the victims who came forward with detailed accounts of Moore's sexual abuse. He urged Moore to exit the race and said he was unfit to serve in the Senate. Now the senator says, "I'm going to let the people of Alabama make the call."
"The voters have spoken" mantra is a pathetic defense of immoral behavior and is the same rationale used when defending President Donald Trump, also accused of sexual misconduct by 16 women, all of whom Trump has called liars. Moore says his accusers are all liars as well.
Moore has the full support of Trump, and if elected will likely not be subject to expulsion from the Senate because his vote along party lines overrides all else, including the moral high ground. McConnell's about-face represents a profound erosion in the Republican Party's core values.
Jim Paladino, Tampa
Bullying bill is a voucher smokescreen Nov. 26, editorial
Student now feels safe
I considered myself part of the Campbell Park Elementary family. Not only did four of my children attend this school, but I was so actively involved in volunteering and PTA meetings that I was often mistaken for staff. So it was a surprise to find that my daughter Tanijah was bullied as long as she was.
Bullying started early in first grade and continued to get worse until fourth. It started out as name-calling and teasing but by fourth grade the bullying became physical.
My kids have had great teachers at Campbell Park, so I'm not sure why they or the principals weren't able to stop the bullying. I couldn't wait any longer. My daughter needed a safe school now.
Thankfully, I qualified for the Tax Credit Scholarship and enrolled Tanijah at Academy Prep of St. Petersburg. Academy Prep handles bullying issues immediately. The girls have one-on-one meetings with the head of the school and counselor, and group meetings where the girls are required to say something nice to each other. The principal and teachers call to discuss problems. Not only do I feel like I'm finally being heard, but I also know I've found a place where Tanijah will be safe.
I think the Hope Scholarship is an awesome idea and I hope that parents take advantage of it.
The Times once called Campbell Park a "failure factory." My two boys still attend and I hope the school continues to improve. But I believe that if a parent feels their child isn't safe, they should have a right to enroll their child somewhere else.
Chikara Parks, St. Petersburg
Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3
Middle class loses out
The Republican Senate has managed to pass a tax overhaul, despite knowing that it was projected to add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt under even the most optimistic assumptions. Democrats have opposed this bill as a giant tax cut for the rich, which it is, but more emphasis should be given to the fact that the "loopholes" closed are things that benefit the middle class, such as state and local tax deduction and health care expense deduction. And while the standard deduction is doubled, elimination of the personal exemption makes the "middle class tax cut" for most taxpayers so small that it will be swallowed up by rising health insurance premiums, thanks to Republican efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act.
Worst of all, the massive deficits caused by the Republican tax bill will undoubtedly be used as an excuse for cutting Medicare and Social Security, which middle class taxpayers rely on as the foundation of a secure retirement. Republicans have shown their true colors by passing this bill. Voters need to remember this next November.
Susan Hofstader, St. Petersburg
Our pockets were picked
The Republican Donors' Tax Relief Act of 2017 is ready to increase our national debt obligation by $1 trillion. Each U.S. citizen's debt obligation just increased by $3,077. Of course not all citizens pay taxes. The debt obligation per U.S. taxpayer is a larger number, and just increased by $8,310.
As a taxpayer, I was just handed an $8,310 future debt obligation against $500 in immediate tax savings. And the Republican Senate says this is a good thing. A little outrage is in order here. All taxpayers have had their pockets picked by a Republican Party that once stood for fiscal responsibility.
Robert Clarke, St. Petersburg