Tax real estate

on size of lot

It doesn't really matter whether the board and staff of the BRT are angels, devils, or ordinary people trying to do a job. The idea that your property-tax assessment should turn on the condition of your brickwork, your windows, or how many bathrooms you have is absurd.

A better and fairer system is to tax real estate based on the size of your lot, without regard to the building that sits on it. Think about this: On my block in Center City, nearly every lot is 30 feet wide by 68 feet deep (2,040 square feet). At $3.92 per square foot, every property owner with that size lot would pay about $8,000 per year in real estate taxes. A good number of the residents of my block would see their tax decrease. Some would see an increase. But everyone with the same size lot would be paying the same real estate taxes.

There would be no need for the BRT, except maybe to send a person out with a tape measure to check the size of your lot if you disputed it.

Bernard J. Nearey


Government should

lose some weight

The insatiable appetite of government for revenues, whether in Philadelphia or Harrisburg, continues. It seems that those bodies of legislature are hundreds of pounds overweight, and they do not know how to shed the fat. Every employee is so necessary that catastrophes will follow if anyone is let go.

Mayor Nutter seems as if he is running for reelection already. He (and City Council) will not challenge the unions, and the continued alternative is to raise taxes again.

In Harrisburg, we have a huge legislature, again interested only in revenues. We have a milk board that supposedly protects the dairy farmer, but certainly not the consumer. We also have a Liquor Control Board. But if the consumer wants selection, price, and customer service, he goes out of state.

What we have in our legislators is a fear of making the tough but necessary choices.

David Krahn


U.S. shipped jobs

overseas, remember?

President Obama is doing everything possible to lower unemployment, and as expected, the opposition claims it can do better. What did we expect to happen when our manufacturers closed so many plants here and are producing their wares overseas? We lost not only the manufacturing jobs; we also lost all the jobs that support a manufacturing facility, including engineers and other professionals.

No other nation welcomed imported goods to the same extent as the United States. Now, we see that the cheaper prices came at a very steep cost.

Martin Gingold


Amnesty would be

a Democratic boost

Immigration reform is long overdue ("Next up: Immigration," Monday). However, one pillar of your editorial is of particular concern: "There would be a path to legal residence for the millions of illegal aliens."

This administration has made it clear that it desires some form of amnesty with the ultimate goal of the "new Americans" gaining voting privileges. Adding them to the rolls with the unions, the American Bar Association, and the 40 percent of Americans who are on some form of government assistance would assure a Democratic majority, as we would continue our spiral into an unexceptional European-style nanny state.

Stephen Hanover

Parker Ford

Air travel is

bad enough already

The management of both United Airlines and US Airways have proved consistently and rather spectacularly that they are not able even to run their own airlines.

Why in the world would regulators allow them to combine ("United and US Airways in talks," Thursday)?

This is clearly a case where 1+1= less than 1.

If they need to partner, let them both be bought by airlines with more competent management teams.

Martin Heldring


Sarkozy is

no socialist

A letter ("Socialists like Obama's style," Monday) suggests that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's endorsement of our new health-care reform law proves that the law amounts to socialism.

Sarkozy is a member of the Union for a Popular Movement, France's center-right political party. He defeated a member of the Socialist Party to win the presidency.

Evidently, only in the United States is the notion of health care as a right and not a privilege - a truly pro-life position - considered a subversive leftist plot by a significant portion of the population.

Bill Fanshel

Bryn Mawr