News and Tribune

February 19, 2009

LETTERS: Feb. 20, 2009

Silver Street closure far from resolved

Last fall, a Louisville newspaper published an article which led people to believe that New Albany’s Silver Street Elementary School has been “saved” from closure. As a co-president of Silver Street Elementary School’s PTO, an active member of Friends of Silver Street and parent of a student at Silver Street Elementary, I was congratulated by many well-wishing friends for having “won the fight” to keep our school open. I’ve explained that the issue is still alive, and although Dr. Brooks clearly stated the issue of school closure was not abandoned, the reporter created a headline misleading readers into thinking the possibility of school closure was no longer an issue.

During last Thursday’s parent council meeting (a group comprised of representatives from all schools in the corporation), Dr. Brooks announced that the Resources for Results Committee would hold two more monthly meetings and would then make a recommendation to the school board. This means we can expect a recommendation to be delivered in late March/early April.

The present fiscal crises facing our city and school corporation are very serious and challenging. However, the recent decision regarding cutting teaching positions coupled with possible school closures translates into more crowded classrooms and over-taxed teachers/staff throughout the entire school corporation. I ask that citizens attend the upcoming school board meetings, as well as public meetings that we have been promised will be held, to voice concerns to our elected school board before we compromise our children’s educational future.

— Norma Condra, New Albany

Stop fiscal abuse toward retirees

The Indiana State Income Tax code continues to tax the total amount of all federal,, state, and local civil service retirees’ pensions.

Indiana’s taxation of pension benefits includes such groups as teachers, firemen, policemen, etc. Indiana is one of only five remaining states that has not amended State Income Tax codes to eliminate this gross inequity, essentially a form of double taxation. For example, Kentucky allows $41,110 pension exemption on State Income taxes for all civil service retirees. Three bordering states — Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan — have adjusted their tax laws to eliminate or greatly reduce taxation of subject pensions.

Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits are exempt from Indiana State taxes. How can you exempt these retirement benefits and tax the total amount of civil service retirees?

To compound the issue, civil service retirees have little or no social security left after a Federal law — Windfall Elmination Provision — reduces by 60 percent their social security benefits. When will Indiana stop the fiscal abuse and follow the lead of 45 states and make respective tax codes equitable and just?

Wake up, Indiana, the rooster is crowing!

if you are affected by this gross inequity, please call and write to your state senator and representative. You can identify your Indiana Representative at 1-800-382-9842 or Indiana Senator at 1-800-382-9467.

— Sylvia Savage, Legislative Chairperson, National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Chapter 1777, New Albany

Support Bill 453

Indiana is leading the way with prudent currency legislation that will hedge Hoosiers and our state against inflation. The analysis findings in the fiscal impact statement done for the Senate Tax and Policy Committee on Senate Bill 453 states:

“By establishing a gold electronic currency, the state and local units may avoid risk from collapse of the U.S. legal tender system.”

“Gold compared to U.S. dollar: Prices of gold and the U.S. dollar are inverse to one another. As the U.S. dollar gains in value, the price of gold decreases, and vice versa. Currently, the price of gold is high, and the value of the U.S. dollar is declining.”

Since it makes complete sense to try and avoid risk, and the U.S. dollar and the economy it supports is in crisis, it’s important to support SB 453. Six states have filed “sound money” legislation — Indiana, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri and Washington. More are expected to file any day. Let’s keep Indiana the front runner and get our SB 453 to the floor for a vote.

Please contact your state senators and representatives and urge them to support SB 453 — use of gold by state and local governments.

— Jan Miller, Mexico, Ind.

A local ‘culinary artist’

On Monday evening, my wife and I were very fortunate to take part in a unique dining experience at The Come Back Inn restaurant along Spring Street in Jeffersonville. The owner/chef Chris Smith, with the help of Ms. Tisha Dean of World Class Beverages, arranged a six-course meal with beverage pairings.

Each of the six courses were incredible and it was a meal that truly ranked at the top of our list. The staff was equally as impressive with their service and presentation.

This is a quarterly event and we urge you to stop in for lunch or dinner and have your name added to the list for the next event.

— Jim and Dayle Benton, Jeffersonville