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Welcome to GOP Tax Math With Mr. Hodshon

The right wing of the United States feels as if they have the 21st century all sewn up ... without considering the mathematics, which will return to haunt them, just as Marley haunted Scrooge. A few of the Weekly's readers--a free-thinking engineer who views the left as shrill Puritans, an incarnation of Jonathan Swift and a pundit "screwed on the right bolt" (Mailbag, Nov. 25)--will be woefully disappointed when their ships fail to come in.

About 73 percent of the slated $100 billion tax cuts set to take effect in 2005 will be granted to the top 20 percent of all tax payers. In other words, those with incomes of $1 million (and more) per year will receive a tax cut of $135,000. The remaining 80 percent of income earners (with incomes of $76,400 and less per year) will receive a whopping $350 on average.

Let's do the math. Dividing 135,000 by 1 million results in a return of about 13.5 cents on the dollar (13.5 percent). Dividing 350 by 76,400 guarantees .46 cents on the dollar (0.46 percent) Sense something odd? Not until a lucky member of the top 20 percent earns $8 million, or an unfortunate denizen of the remaining 80 percent earns $19,100, do the returns actually reverse (about 1.7 percent as a return for $8 million; about 1.8 percent for $19,100). Still, $135,000 can almost buy a median-priced home in Tucson, while $350 might just pay for a month's rent or a month's worth of groceries (but not both).

I know of about 160 or so Catalina High Magnet School students who (prior to the 2000 election) had to calculate Bush's initial tax cut proposals, and discovered similar results. They were horrified--even those who considered themselves staunch Republicans.

Let's just hope registered voters will be doing the math long before 2008 ... regardless of party affiliation.

Peter Yates Hodshon


It's About Conservation, People!

I just read "Big Gulp" (Currents, Nov. 25), and I couldn't believe what I read. The article was about how increasing population in Tucson would increase the demand for water, and how the demand would be met by treating effluent, increasing the use of CAP water and perhaps purchasing CAP allotments from Native American tribes. Not once did the author or Tucson Water Director David Modeer mention the word "conservation." What is it going to take for people to realize that we have to use less water? This is a desert!

I find it reprehensible for public officials not to make citizens aware of our decreasing water supply. I guess they're going to wait until there's an imminent crisis to say anything. People should already be aware of the need to conserve, but maybe they're not. There are so many easy ways to save water--get a composting toilet or at least a low-water-usage one, and don't flush every time. Don't wash your car. Don't play golf so they'll get rid of the golf courses. Plant only native plants and use graywater instead of tapwater for watering. Just think about what you're doing before you use water--it's a limited resource that will be gone before we know it.

Alice Howe


Ideas on How to Raise Dough for Garbage Changes

In Dave Devine's Dec. 2 story ("Garbage Equity," Currents), he points to some of the issues facing the city council regarding changing the fee structure for trash service. One idea that didn't come up is the potential for raising the flat-fee prices above the current $14, and then later (when rolling out the graduated scale) reducing the low-volume fees. The extra flat fees (above the $14) could go directly to funding the emergency assistance program and purchasing additional trash containers, and then when the fees are reduced for the low-volume folks, there would likely be a groundswell of support for the entire program.

This depends, though, on the number of low-volume versus high-volume customers.

Kyle Hamilton


When It Came to CAP, I Was the 'Lone Dissenter'

I notice that some of your readers are unhappy about Tucson's rapid growth. Where were they when the Central Arizona Project was proposed? Everyone thought it was a great idea; I was the lone dissenter. There was a movement to fire me from the university.

Well, now we have all that water, and the state is growing at the rate of 6,000 people per month. All of you CAP lovers should be happy to see the results of your work.

The garbage article by Dave Devine was good. Other states (California) are going modern to anaerobic digestion. It is done in about three weeks; useful water and solids are produced, plus carbon dioxide and methane. The carbon dioxide can be used to soften hard water; it has been done near Phoenix for 45 years. The methane can be burned for heat or used for vehicles. The USDA even has a program to help cities do it; naturally, Tucson has no interest.

Professor Stuart A. Hoenig


Claim: A Mine Near Three Points Is Poisoning the Air

Even as your article on mine pollution went to press ("Environmental Emergency," Dec. 2), yet another mine loomed on our horizon with an environmental threat. This time, it's Asaarco Mining Co., putting in a smelter without scrubbers that will poison the air around Three Points, and, of course, this contributes to poisoned air all over the world.

If this were happening in Armory Park or on Skyline Drive, an army of lawyers would have surrounded Asaarco's offices, and Asaarco would be announcing that they were installing scrubbers, had planned to do so all along and would be running full-page ads and 60-second TV spots telling us how much they care about the environment.

Like the Bush Administration, the mines seem to have mandates to deny science and assume the risk of incalculable destruction on our behalf.

Dennis Williams


When It Comes to D-M, We All Gotta Get Along

I resented Alex Lutgendorf's rather arrogant and bullying letter snarling at those who suffer Davis-Monthan's aircraft noise ("D-M Was There Before You, You Whiners," Mailbag, Dec. 2). At the end of his letter, he sneers, "If you don't like it, go back to where you came from."

First, I'm proud of our Air Force, and we all know that skill comes from training. Second, mine is a military family--two Air Force, one Naval officer. Don't accuse me of being anti-military.

Lutgendorf wrote that Davis-Monthan does its best to limit noise by using a southeast landing and takeoff pattern, among other things. This is only partly true. DM jets roar down across Marana, the northwest side, Flowing Wells and all of central Tucson, areas covering about a quarter-million people or more. This is definitely not a "southeast pattern." In this huge swath of noise lie at least 20 or 30 schools, counting conservatively.

Studies show that excess or sudden high-decibel noise causes not just stress and anxiety, but physical changes, hearing loss and related health problems.

Davis-Monthan's command can work harder at shifting flights away form urban centers. Conflicts with the Tucson International Airport, mentioned by others, can be worked around.

Noise pollution is a real problem, not some whim. It's not anybody's "fault" that Davis-Monthan was "here first." This is not a blame game. We all gotta work together.

In the 2005 round of base closures, Davis-Monthan is vulnerable due to noise and urban encroachment. I want the base to stay. I believe that Col. Michael Spencer, Davis-Monthan's commander, can and will be even more responsive to the noise mitigation issue, but only if we let him know what we need for the health of Tucson.

Andy Studebaker

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