Readers react to taxpayer issues

Education, earnings potential and taxes

Re the Jan. 15 Speak Up comment equating a free two-year education to socialism: My father, a first-generation American who grew up in New York City in the 1920s and ’30s, received a tuition-free college education from the City College of New York. My brother received the same tuition-free education from Queens College. Their education, as mine at the State University of New York at Binghamton, was not an incident of socialism, it was an investment. The tuition-free education available through the City University of New York provided opportunities to those who would not otherwise be able to go beyond high school. It was an investment that was returned many times over through the increased taxes generated by the increased earnings potential of the students.

I should assume (though I don’t) that the Speak Up commenter would like to abolish the entire public university system in Ohio because it is heavily subsidized by the state. After all, the essential difference between the current subsidies provided by the state and the tuition-free education proposed by President Obama is the amount of the subsidy.

Finally, does the Speak Up commenter really believe his last sentence that “education should be earned, not given free?” Does the commenter not appreciate the elementary and high school education that was provided “free”?

The president’s proposal may or may not be a good idea. In this day and age, there may well be questions about whether there will be a sufficient return to justify the investment. The proposal should, however, be debated on its merits, not by the nonsensical label of socialism. — WALTER PUPKO, CENTERVILLE

Looking at amounts, not percentages

I recently read “Ohio taxes hit poor hardest,” Jan. 15, on the front page of the Dayton Daily News. Articles like this are common these days about the growing gap between the wealthy and everyone else. The problem is that the title of this article and the whole subject are extremely misleading in that such articles never explain or clarify “the numbers.” I’m not sure whether it is the intention of these articles to not “tell the whole story” and take advantage of the unfortunate fact that some readers may be mathematically challenged and don’t see anything except what is written or whether this “omission” is due to the writer’s own lack of understanding of the importance of “the numbers.”

The article states that the poorest fifth of Ohio households earning less than $18,000 per year paid 11.7 percent ($2,106) of their income in state and local taxes of all types while someone earning $365,000 per year only paid 7 percent ($25,550). Obviously most readers will see an immediate and gross injustice. However, never is it pointed out in these articles what the actual amounts are. This is a difference of $23,444. Yet the higher income earner will be accused of not paying their fair share as usual.

In addition, it is just common mathematical sense that someone with a lower income will pay a higher percentage in taxes when a tax, such as the sales tax, is not progressive. Is the implied proposal to have a progressive sales tax? That ought to be fun. Bureaucracies run on dollars not percentages. — RONALD WYSONG, SPRING VALLEY

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