I would like to suggest three steps the government could take that would speed the recovery from superstorm Sandy and spur the economy without raising taxes.
1. Allow people to withdraw money from their 401(k)s and IRAs without taxes or penalties, to pay for storm damage or loss, as Newsday has endorsed ["Give Sandy victims a break," Editorial, Dec. 13]. With their federal income tax return, they would file a separate form listing how much money was withdrawn and what it was used for.
2. Impose a "Sandy surcharge" on the lottery, setting aside 5 percent for every dollar bet for disaster relief.
3. Freeze the property taxes in all designated disaster communities for two years. To pay for any shortfall caused by not raising property taxes, we could defer money paid into the pension funds for two years.
Ed Fountaine, Oakdale
The article "Stumped by tree debris" [News, Dec. 6] really struck a nerve with me. I live on busy Daly Road in East Northport and have been emailing and calling the Town of Huntington, pleading for them to remove the debris from my curb. It makes it extremely dangerous for us to pull out of our driveway.
I am especially concerned about our young drivers, 20 and 22 years old, who pull in and out of the driveway each day. People routinely drive by our driveway doing 40 to 50 mph, and it seems that about half are talking on their cellphones. We have to pull about a quarter of the way out of the driveway just to see what's coming, and roll down the windows to try to hear them.
The only response I received was an email back asking, "Is the debris curbside?"
In the article, Highway Superintendent William Naughton stated, "We first clear the roads for traffic, the main roads, then secondary roads, subdivision roads." What a crock of nonsense that is! Many side roads are cleared, yet our busy and dangerous road is left alone.
Jean Schieck, East Northport