Regarding “Pruitt to replace members on EPA science panels” (Nov. 1): EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is replacing scientifically knowledgeable advisers with advisers from the chemical, agricultural and power industries. The given reason is that anyone receiving federal research grants is somehow biased.
According to Pruitt, manufacturers of pesticides and herbicides represent a broader view and therefore are not biased. Pruitt might not want to be confronted with scientific research findings that contradict his politically motivated agenda. Pruitt is turning the Environmental Protection Agency into the Environmental Pollution Agency.
Treat schools equally
In “A long look at NC school funding” (Nov. 5) there was no mention that North Carolina remains only one of fives states that imposes state sales tax on all public school purchases – like books, computers, etc.
Unfairly, most private charter schools are organized as 501(c)(3) nonprofits and pay sales tax, but unlike public schools, they can receive a rebate of taxes paid. All schools should be treated the same.
Regarding “In high-tax states, worries about pain from GOP tax plan” (Nov. 3): In the last few weeks, we have heard only one side of the debate over the elimination of state and local taxes as a federal tax deduction. I would like to present another side of the argument. There should never have been such a deduction in the first place. It is not the elimination of the deduction that represents an unjust redistribution of wealth. It is, instead, the deduction itself that does the redistribution.
Here is how the current system works: Residents of states with high local and state taxes get large deductions for state and local taxes, where residents of states with low or no taxes get small (or nonexistent) ones. These deductions reduce income to the federal government, with high-tax states causing far more of the associated income shortfall than low-tax states. American citizens from other states have to make up the difference, either through higher taxes or higher deficits.
This is clearly and patently unfair and is therefore morally and ethically wrong-headed. If residents of New York or Oregon (or any other locality) wish to tax themselves heavily, that is their choice. They might even be better off for having done so. That is not the point. The point is that it is not right to force the citizens of other localities, who had no say in their decisions to run their taxes up so high, to help them pick up the tab. This is what the current deduction effectively does. It should therefore be removed.