Bad TV reporting; Mural doesn’t represent; Cost of climate change — Letters to the Editor, March 6, 2019


Little humor in bad TV reporting on taxes

I have seen misstatements on TV and political cartoons that only reinforce a common misunderstanding regarding payroll tax deductions and last year’s tax cuts. I considered the recent “editorial cartoon” on the editorial page (Feb. 27) as humorous, but after remembering recent “reporting” on the local TV stations, I find that the reported issues are very misleading and just bad reporting; good reporting would have explained the issue.

The headlines tell us that people are complaining about having a smaller refund or having to write a check to pay taxes this year, suggesting that the public did not receive a tax cut. Last year, Congress did pass a “tax reform and tax cut package” and most everyone benefited. (Though, I do personally disagree with some of the new rules regarding deductions and wish Congress did a better job of slashing government spending.)

In America, we pay taxes using an installment plan based on projected earnings. Getting a “large” refund only means that a taxpayer overpayed his taxes and allowed Uncle Sam to hold his over-payment until the taxpayer figured out that Uncle Sam needs to give back the taxpayer’s money.

The average taxpayer determines his tax installment based on withholding tables provided by Uncle Sam. People in the “know” knew that the withholding tables were too high, as evidenced by the “large refund industry.”

Furthermore, people in the “know” adjust their withholding (tax installments) accordingly. Frankly, people receiving large annual refunds, are poor money managers and would seem “easy marks” for charlatans.

A conspiracy theorist might suggest that high withholding tables is a method by the Feds to help with short-term cash flow. Last year, Congress in its wisdom adjusted the withholding tables to better reflect how much our tax installments should be.

People in the “know” always try to make taxes a zero-sum game; winning the game means, at the end of the year, you neither have to pay or receive money to/from the Fed.

Estimating taxes is hard because people’s incomes can be volatile and variable. Ultimate financial success requires you keep your head in the game. Last year, net monthly paychecks was likely higher. The increase is due to a lower tax installment, based on a lower tax rate and a more accurate withholding tables.

The only question that comes to my mind is: Why is the reporting so misleading?

Likely answers to the question do not seem very humorous...

—Rory Hammond

Dunes City

New mural proposal doesn’t represent Florence

I want to express my displeasure at the proposed mural for the CLPUD building. In my opinion, it looks like inner city graffiti and does not represent Florence at all. If a “tagger” or someone added actual graffiti to the mural, could anyone tell the difference?

I don’t think so.

There are so many different beautiful options that could still be designed, i.e., whales passing by our coast, the dunes, a lighthouse, dune buggies, our state and national park forests, etc.

We have scenery that is beckoning to many, but does this proposed design do that? We want business to come to Florence for economic growth — does this massive graffiti mural attract business or turn it away?

I have urged the Florence City Council and our City Manager to vote against the implementation of the current mural design and reset the clock with a new effort (with some new volunteer members for the committee that chose this design).

If anyone else agrees with me or has opinion either way, please let the Florence City Council know. All Florence residents should be able to vote on a choice of murals and more appropriate designs on how they want our city to be represented and perceived. 

—Don Drozdenko

Florence 

Practical application of costs of climate change

Have you ever experienced a travel delay due to climate change, which President Trump says does not exist?

Well, recently my wife and I spent a week in Cabo San Lucas and the weather was 72 in the day and 50 at night which is below expected temps. Coming back, we flew into San Francisco for a direct one-hour flight to Eugene.

Canceled.

So, we booked a flight to Portland instead of Seattle — but again, the flights were canceled. We spent the night in Portland because all flights to Eugene were canceled due to the weather; same for Seattle. We rented a car and drove down I-5 to Eugene and discovered why there had been cancelations as we drove to the rental car drop off through a foot of snow.

Ultimately, getting back from Cabo cost me about the same as it would have by staying three extra days there.

Climate change is real. And it is only going to get more costly.

—Win Jolley

Florence

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