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Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005 09:57 am

Letters to the editor

In and around Springfield

We welcome letters, but please include your full name, address, and a daytime telephone number. We edit all letters for libel, length, and clarity. Send letters to: Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705 Fax: (217) 753-3958 E-mail: editor@illinoistimes.com
CITY COMMITED TO EAST SIDE
Congratulations to Fletcher Farrar for his commitment to neighborhood revitalization in Springfield, especially in Enos Park. He is also to be commended for recognizing several of the proposed R/UDAT Followup plans for downtown Springfield, specifically noting attention to the east side and the adjacent neighborhoods [See “The other side of the tracks,” Sept22-28]. His concern about R/UDAT Followup Committee’s ability to sustain its progress is valid. I am convinced the commitment is substantial from all parties. However, Fletcher missed an opportunity to point out additional and significant ongoing developments/activities already in place and positively impacting the east side. In addition to the Capitol Avenue redesign planned from Second Street to Nineteenth Street, the Medical District, and the proposed multi-modal transportation facility along Tenth Street as part of a railroad relocation project, not mentioned was the proposed new East Side Community Center, the Old South Town Revitalization project, Springfield Green, Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway designation, Madison Park Place, Capital Community Health Center, Cargill-Pillsbury Charrette, and the recent annexation of Abundant Faith Christian Center on Taylor Avenue into Springfield. I would be remiss not to mention the great work people like Ron Metzger are quietly doing on Clearlake Avenue to enhance its appearance. The R/UDAT process has been a tremendous catalyst for the enhanced appearance of downtown and connection to its neighborhoods, but the fact is, with or without R/UDAT guidance, the City of Springfield has made a determined commitment to its neighborhoods, with special attention correctly focused on the east side. Consider the combined momentum generated by the opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the added assets of Union Square Park and Union Station, and the Medical District, to an enhanced Capitol Campus and Capitol Avenue, with the projects and opportunities noted above. It becomes quickly apparent that Springfield enjoys a rare occasion in our history to dramatically and positively change the face of downtown and its neighborhoods, including the east side, for decades to come. Farrar correctly points out that without continued full partnership from east side leaders, this rare opportunity may be lost.
Michael J. Farmer Director Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development

TAX-WINDFALL PROFITS ON OIL The cost for immediate relief and reconstruction caused by Hurricane Katrina could run as high as $150 billion to $200 billion. The federal government is already facing large budget deficits. Congress is looking at new revenue sources to cover these costs. One such source is a tax on the oil industry’s windfall profits. The recent shortages of crude oil and refined products such as gasoline have resulted in an unexpected huge profit for the oil industry. Their profits were running at an annual rate of $62.8 billion in the first quarter of 2005. This compares to an average of just $24.3 billion, in 2005 dollars, over the last five years. Profits this quarter at Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest oil company, are expected to exceed $10 billion.
A tax of 30 percent on the profits, which exceed the average of the last five years by more than 10 percent, would yield at least $10 billion. These dollars would obviously help reduce the financial burden that will ultimately be borne by the American public. One can only hope that Congress
will have the guts to pass the necessary legislation.

John D. Kolaz Springfield
WHAT’S WORSE IS, HE DRIVES A FORD
I have been reading your newspaper for only about six months, and I like it immensely. I assume the editor is not a “car guy” because there is no mention of anything car-related in the “Best of Springfield” issue [Sept. 15]. It was a very good issue, but it makes no mention of anything pertaining to the two car clubs located in Springfield or the surrounding area or of their show schedules. If you can please include that information in the future, I’m sure your following will increase.
David Bliss Taylorville
AM I THE ONLY ONE WONDERING?
Is it just me, or does anyone else wonder why President Bush keeps flying into the hurricane zones — wasting gas, backing up traffic in valuable airspace, and hoping to give the impression that he’s in charge? Mr. Bush would do everyone in the affected areas a favor if he stayed out of the way, conserved some of our precious resources, and let the professionals have unhindered access to the people in need. Every time the President’s plane goes anywhere, all traffic within five miles has to stop. I wonder how the rescue crews in Louisiana felt as Air Force One did that low-level fly-by so Mr. Bush could review Katrina’s destruction on his way home from vacation? Meg Miner Mansfield
EXPLAINING THE FAIR TAX
I recently read The Fair Tax Book by Neal Boortz and U.S. Rep. John Linder, R-Ga. While nobody likes the idea of paying taxes, it is something that we cannot get around. The Fair Tax Act, which is currently before Congress, is actually quite interesting [HR 25, sponsored by Linder]. It would abolish all federal income tax, including Medicare tax, Social Security tax, corporate tax, and death tax. It would abolish the IRS. It would replace the current tax code with a national sales tax. When I first heard about the fair tax, I did not believe it could work. I thought the national sales tax would be a burden on citizens, especially lower-income citizens, and did not think it could raise enough money to match what the government takes from us currently. The last part of that sentence may sound disturbing to some, but imagine if the government did not take 30 to 40 percent of your paycheck each pay period. What if you could decide when you want to pay taxes, by purchasing something? Under this system, everyone would pay taxes when they make purchases, including visitors to our country. However, taxes on basic life necessities would be covered for the head of every household by a monthly (p)rebate check. This part of the proposal is what convinced me that it would not be more of a burden on lower-income families. Jobs would also be created under the fair tax. All of those corporations that move offshore because of the heavy and complicated tax system in America would return and bring jobs with them. America would be the largest tax shelter in the world; it would be very possible that corporations from other countries would move here as well, bringing even more jobs.
I am not trying to sell a book, but I do recommend that you try to find a copy of The Fair Tax Book. It will explain the fair tax better than I can, and I believe that you will find, as I have, that tax can be fair. Stephen Rigg Moweaqua
THE WINDMILLS OF HIS MIND
The July 2, 1980, windstorm disaster in West Frankfort, Ill., was a warning from the God of Israel of future judgments of the world! The city of New Orleans had a jazz funeral when the floodwaters surrounded the houses. New Orleans, La., has become a ghost town. The Big Easy was uneasy and crazy when the thieves started to loot the city. It’s sad to see the lawlessness of the people on TV stealing everything in their sight. Why the destruction of this city? New Orleans, La., is a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah! For more than 200 years, New Orleans, La., has been the voodoo capital of the United States! The evil spirits have been marching in for a long time! Also, New Orleans is an alcohol, drug, and sex party town. The Mardi Gras put New Orleans on the map to make it an international party town! When you dance, then somebody is going to have to pay all the jazz bands. The God of Israel put judgment on New Orleans for all its sins! The below-sea-level city was washed clean from the spirit of voodoo! The dark side of New Orleans will change from this judgment of God! A New Orleans when the saints go marching in again! This judgment disaster will affect all of the United States. New Orleans is the largest port in the United States. George Culley Pinckneyville
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