More taxes hurt jobs
In the last two years while private sector jobs disappeared, local governments actually added 200 jobs. In addition the number of school district employees making in excess of $50K, $100K and $150K has increased more than 25 percent. Where are the cuts they continue to claim they've made?
We are the second highest taxed county in Florida and will move into first place if this tax passes. Combine this with a per capita income near the bottom and you have a classic, California-type Tax Death Spiral.
This new tax will raise $104 million over four years and more than 52 percent of it will fall directly on business properties that will be forced to raise prices to stay in business. This is a tax on everyone. Superintendent Margaret Smith claims this is all about the children while ignoring the decimation of the jobs market that taxation has caused in Volusia County. The primary reason for lower student enrollment is parents having to move to find work. The primary cause of low property values in Volusia is lack of jobs moving into our area due to high taxation.
Our education system is broken and there are no plans to address it other than to throw more money at it and hope it gets better. I attended a strategy session at the VCSD Training Center a few weeks ago and what I witnessed was nothing short of a propaganda campaign to bully parents and taxpayers into coughing up more money because they've run out of the stimulus money that allowed the district to avoid hard cuts for the past two years. Not one word in this meeting about improving standards, reforming the system or the negative impact of this tax.
As the largest employer in the county, the district may exert enough influence to brawl through this tax increase but that won't affect the negative impact on jobs.
Ed Connor, Volusia Tax Reform, Ormond Beach
A Medicare killer
Part of Paul Ryan's government-busting, spending-cutting, deficit-reducing plan was to cut billions of dollars from Medicare and change it to a voucher program whereby the government would provide a voucher and the citizen would go to the private insurance companies looking for medical insurance through their old age.
So, if a person entered Medicare eligibility in perfect health, he or she would probably be able to get sufficient insurance for the value of the voucher. But as that person's health deteriorates with age, the insurance companies will demand more money in premiums or higher co-pays or higher deductibles, or a combination of these, to cover the same person. At some point, that person would not be able to get coverage at all. For seniors of little means, that could result in premature deaths, especially since Medicaid is on the chopping block as well.
Well, that plan got a lot of bad press, so Ryan found a Democrat to sponsor a variation on a theme. We can't call it a compromise because that is a dirty word and is no longer used in the halls of Congress. But this variation (we'll call it v2.0) will kill Medicare and here is how. It hinges on the fundamental difference between the two plans. In the original plan, traditional Medicare was not an option for the senior but in v2.0, the senior has the option of choosing either the Ryan plan or traditional Medicare. So, now the insurance companies are in competition with Medicare for premiums.
How do they compete? By offering plans with more coverage than Medicare. Currently some Medicare Advantage plans offer gym memberships, wellness exams, optical services, etc. One can imagine this is substantially how the insurance companies would compete with Medicare.
So, again, a person enters Medicare eligibility in good health and is able to find a commercial plan that meets his or her needs and happily enrolls. But again, as that person's health deteriorates with age, the insurance companies will demand more to cover the same person. At some point, either the insurance company terminates the contract upon its expiration because it costs too much to cover the individual, or the beneficiary decides it is too expensive to continue with commercial coverage. In either case, the person enrolls in traditional Medicare, or what is left of it.
And that is how the plan kills Medicare - with a thousand cuts. The insurance companies get premiums in the form of vouchers from the government and choose which beneficiaries they will cover. The preponderance of them will be healthy. All the unhealthy ones will go to Medicare either because they are not healthy enough for commercial insurance or because their insurance company dropped them. So while the insurance companies only insure healthy people and make big profits from the vouchers, Medicare does not have any healthy people paying premiums. Medicare only has the sick ones costing more than the premiums it gets. As costs get higher for Medicare, will the federal budget keep up? Or will it decrease and result in decreased coverage for the elderly as more and more people enter the eligibility zone?
What kind of Democrat thought that was a great idea?
Don Picard, Edgewater