Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off on sales taxes, Donald Trump and ‘religious freedom’

Sales tax problems

The Republican Party (I am a recovering Republican) is the party of self-reliance, no regulation, no tax, and free and open markets.

This government-get-away-and-leave-me-alone party is allied with an organization that lobbies for greater taxpayer aid to farmers.

Missouri Republicans advocate for replacing the state income tax with increased sales tax. It is easy for farmers to endorse this plan because they are sales tax exempt.

Currently, the state sales and use tax is 4.225 percent, with 3 percent going into general revenue. Some estimate that rate would need to be increased to 10 percent to compensate for the lost income tax.

Missouri has a population of about 6 million. Two-thirds of Missourians have drives of an hour or less to shop in other states.

How does the chamber of commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business sell this Republican idea? Are shopkeepers to believe that a 7 percent price increase would be ignored by customers who owe no income tax?

I believe most people would take the tax break and spend it next door. We can view Kansas is a model.

How can merchants in our border counties support efforts counter to their own interests? Wouldn’t the total elimination of sales tax be beneficial?

Stanley Robinson

Princeton, Mo.

Breaking silence

I don’t like to listen to or talk about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. But I believe that to be silent is to be complicit.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said it best when referring to Trump: “There is no virtue in silence.” This is my attempt to claim virtue.

They say Trump is smart — he is a “fast learner.” He learned quickly to exploit people’s fear and anger. He does this to get a huge response. He doesn’t care that it is a hateful response, as long as he is in the spotlight.

This fast learner did not choose an alternative lesson. He could have elicited a positive response from people by appealing to their better hearts of compassion, justice and generosity. He has learned he can instead draw the worst from his supporters.

An African proverb says if you want to go fast, go alone; if want to go far, go together. In the long run, Trump will end up as history’s spam.

As for me, I hope to be able to speak and write about our next president with pride and gratitude as a leader who brings out the best in me.

Lu Mountenay

Independence

Religious freedom

On the “religious freedom” bill, meanness supported by religion is still meanness.

Merlyn Bolen

Cameron, Mo.

Backward Kansas

For several years, I was president of the trade association that represented high-tech industries in Kansas and Missouri. We were in regular contact with high-tech companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs on both coasts.

We were always trying to persuade these companies to relocate or start up in the region.

When surveying what would bring them to Kansas, never once did I hear any of these people say, “What we are looking for is a state that devalues education, underfunds its public schools and universities, ignores its roads, bridges and other infrastructure, has a tax structure that is destroying the economy, is politically corrupt, has an ineffective and widely inaccessible health-care system, is governed by religious fanatics and mocks the need for arts and culture.”

In other words, the Republican plan for Kansas. What the Republicans know about economic development would fit easily — and with lots of room to spare — on the head of a pin.

Jerry Stogsdill

Prairie Village

Syrian refugees

The April 14 editorial, “A blessed time for refugees in KC, but a shameful time for Europe,” was astounding in its audacity and disregard of the true problem when describing the plight of refugees being denied entry into Europe and praising the efforts of the United States in allowing one family to locate to Kansas City.

The whole refugee problem is a direct result of the ill-advised wars of aggression the U.S. has perpetrated in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Yet the U.S. has agreed to take only a paltry few refugees, and only then after delaying actual implementation because of the xenophobia of Congress. In contrast, millions of refugees have already been granted asylum and settled in Europe.

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Phil Roberts

Overland Park

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