The commuting middle class has been catching a break on gasoline prices, but there are voices from the ivory towers calling for increases in state and federal fuel taxes or, alternatively, imposing mileage taxes to collect revenue from motorists with more fuel-efficient vehicles.
This punishes workers who can’t telecommute and must actually show up on the job, such as nurses, teachers and retail workers. It especially punishes those who may not have ready access to public transportation. And it’s not like the money being saved from lower fuel prices is squandered on luxuries.
The greatest period of infrastructure improvement, including the construction of the interstate highway system, occurred during the Eisenhower administration, when the top marginal tax rate was 92 percent on incomes over $400,000. Since the real incomes of middle-class workers have remained static for nearly four decades now, whereas those of higher earners have soared, it would seem only logical that top marginal tax rates be raised to ease the burden on the struggling middle class. That could secure sufficient revenue to repair our crumbling roads and bridges.
America could restore both its infrastructure and its middle class if only Democrats would stop believing that taxation was not a middle-class issue — and if Republicans would reject the dogma that the wealthy should be exempt from their responsibilities as citizens.
Richard A. Kosinski, Edison Park
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Don’t cut funding for dialysis treatment
Speaking as a certified technician for DaVita HealthCare Partners in Morris, IL, taxpayers need to know that lives are at stake as lawmakers consider budget cuts affecting people who require life-sustaining kidney dialysis treatments.
In Illinois alone, more than 5,000 people who depend on the state’s Medicaid program as their insurance provider receive dialysis treatments. But as lawmakers struggle to create a balanced state budget, some are advocating for a savings of $30 million by eliminating access to dialysis treatments for some patients and reducing reimbursement rates for others. Cutting services that provide life-sustaining treatment should not be a negotiable budget item. When dialysis clinics can no longer afford to serve uninsured or underinsured patients, then publicly funded emergency rooms and hospitals will incur the much higher costs of treating these patients on dialysis.
I urge lawmakers to do the right thing and maintain funding for kidney dialysis patients.
Matthew D. Arambasich, Morris