5:30 PM EDT, August 14, 2012
An invitation to a Habitat mortgage burning
To the editor:
On Sunday, Oct. 7, Habitat For Humanity of Franklin County, Pa., will be having its first-ever mortgage burning ceremony.
In 1994, Habitat built a home on Memory Lane in Chambersburg for the Keith and Michelle Bowers family.
Scores of volunteers joined in the project. Since that time, the Bowers have paid down their mortgage, giving cause for celebration.
We are asking anyone who was involved with Habitat in 1994 or anyone who wishes to join in the mortgage burning ceremony to contact the Habitat office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 717-267-1899.
Mark D. Story, executive director
Habitat For Humanity of Franklin County, Pa.
Chick-fil-A controversy raises some questions
To the editor:
I just do not understand where we as a society took a wrong turn. Why is it that if you do not support the latest social movement you are either a bigot or ignorant? This is, of course, in reference to all that is going on over the hyped-up Chick-fil-A controversy.
I mean, what is really the controversy here? When you walk into a Chick-fil-A, their story is right there on the wall. They are a Christian company, and they practice traditional Christian values. They do not do business on Sunday in observance of the Lord’s day. Are we going to boycott them for that?
If I were to walk into an openly gay bar as a heterosexual and became offended by the same-sex personal display of affection, I would be told that if I did not like it, I did not have to stay. What is the difference?
So a fast-food chain does not believe in same sex marriage — so what?
What I get from this “controversy” is simply that if I do not conform to the mainstream way of thinking, I am an outcast. If I do not support same-sex marriage, I risk being labeled as a bigot or as an ignorant person. Why, just because I have a different belief? What is next? Is someone going to be ostracized because they believe a business college is better than a community college?
If we are targeting religious groups, are we going to boycott any Baptist groups just because of the extremist views of one particular Baptist church and its pastor? Or are we going to ostracize all Protestant religions because of their split from the Catholic Church?
Chick-fil-A never hid the fact that they are a Christian company. If you do not like the fact that they do not, as an organization, stand behind same-sex marriage, accept it and move on. You do not have to buy their products or frequent their stores.
Let us all remember that in the U.S. you are allowed your own opinion, your own beliefs, independent of the masses. We should not stand idly by and let some interest group bully another group just because they do not share the same beliefs.
Comptroller offers a plan to address economic challenges
To the editor:
The governor has called the General Assembly into special session for the second time in three months. As evidenced by Maryland ranking 48th last fiscal year in average private sector earnings growth, far too many Marylanders are bringing home smaller paychecks despite rising expenses. Unfortunately, the principal intent of this special session has nothing to do with those working Marylanders desperately struggling to get by, and instead, seeks to lower the tax rate for casino operators and to dramatically double down on a slots program which has currently spent more taxpayer dollars that it has generated.
The Unilever plant closing in Hagerstown provides yet another painful reminder that the State of Maryland is in real fiscal danger. Despite the steady diet of higher taxes, fees and slots, we still have a structural budget deficit of $548 million. We are currently responsible for about $35 billion in unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations, and are on track to near, if not exceed, Maryland’s debt ceiling in 2017.
Rather than acquiescing to the demands of deep-pocketed special interests, I suggest we come together in a bipartisan spirit to address our fiscal and economic challenges. Our current strategy that relies on public jobs and government spending doesn’t work anymore. We need a fundamentally new approach that is focused on growing the private sector. With Maryland’s unparalleled assets, we can turn it around, and here’s where I would start.
First, we must hold the line on new taxes. The worst thing we can do to a consumer-powered economy is dig deeper into the pockets of struggling Marylanders in the midst of tough times. Second, we need a fair and predictable regulatory environment. The employers I’ve worked with simply ask that our rules and guidelines be presented in a straightforward manner, be enforced fairly, and remain consistent. Third, we need to improve our customer service when dealing with employers. These are the people who pay our salaries and generate the revenue for essential public services, and we should treat them accordingly.
Maryland is at a crossroads, and politics-as-usual won’t solve the problem. With these simple steps, we’ll send a clear message that we’re serious about leaving a stronger, more prosperous Maryland for our kids.
Comptroller of Maryland
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