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Letter: Finger-pointing over high tax bills

Nassau homeowners open their tax bills to find an average 6.8 percent increase in school taxes ["Finger-pointing on property taxes," News, Oct. 6]. Over the past two years, school taxes have jumped an average of 19.1 percent. This despite homeowners being led to believe that a state cap was to limit the levy increase to around 3 percent.

Fingers are pointed in every direction, but at the end of the day, the homeowner still has to swallow this hefty increase. The things that have to be said would be political suicide for the career politician.

Everyone should pay a fair share toward school taxes, but on a sliding scale. Seniors living on a fixed income should pay a minimal amount. Couples without children should pay a certain amount. Couples whose children are no longer in the school system should pay a certain amount.

Families who presently have children enrolled in the school system should pay more based on the number of children. This is one different, fresh approach.

I am all for quality education for the children on Long Island, but am tired of their programs always being threatened when the school tax debate is brought up. The reality is that if things continue, these same children, upon adulthood and starting a family, will not be able to afford to live here.

Tony Giametta, Oceanside

Obamacare critic distorts the facts

In "The real insanity inside the Beltway" [Opinion, Oct. 13], columnist Ted Bromund applauds that the executive branch cannot get what it wants simply because it demands it.

In fact, our system of separation of powers worked perfectly: The executive branch supported legislation, the Affordable Care Act; the legislative branch approved it; and the judicial branch upheld its constitutionality. Furthermore, we have had a national election since its passage, where the law was a major issue, and the president was handily re-elected.

The president is simply saying that the fight over the Affordable Care Act already has occurred, compromises were made during that fight, and the budget and funding battles are not the place to revisit this issue.

Tea party Republicans continually try to undermine the effective, constitutionally based running of our democracy to get their own way.

Bromund is also guilty of the insidious use of so-called facts. He compares the cost of Obamacare to the size of the Canadian economy, noting they are about equal. Let's dissect the numbers: First, he compared the cost of Obamacare over 10 years to the size of the annual economy of Canada. Second, he fails to relate that to the relative population of the two countries; Canada is a little more than 10 percent the size of the United States in population. Third, he doesn't put the cost of Obamacare in perspective relative to the total U.S. budget. Last, he only cites costs, not other factors, such as projected savings or increases in revenue.

Thomas Wallace, Wading River

Education commish needs to hear parents

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.'s decision to suspend the remaining PTA-sponsored meetings around the state is reprehensible ["NY education chief backs out of LI forum," News, Oct. 13].

He seems to want parents and educators to hear him, but he refuses to hear us. He dismisses us as "special interests." How dare he!

I am a parent. The only special interests I have are my children. Ask him about his special interests: data collector inBloom, the Gates Foundation, and test vendor Pearson Education.

Our children are hurting because of the Common Core initiative. If we don't advocate for them, who will?

The public perception is that the Education Department and state government just don't care. If King thinks that refusing to meet with us will make us go away, he is sadly mistaken. If anything, he just added fuel to the fire.

Teri Harling, Manor Park

It is with shame and disgust that I read this story. Commissioner John B. King Jr. has been the main player in the Education Department's rollout of the Common Core standards, without the thoughtful transition planning needed for such a major policy shift.

As if this were not toxic enough, the speed of this agenda has subjected tens of thousands of children to the rigid and psychometrically ill-advised procedure of sitting for exams for which they have not been adequately prepared. The impact of these take-no-prisoner political agendas has caused an unprecented plunge in the mental health status of children and adolescents across New York.

When the town hall meetings were announced, there was a sense of relief that parents and educators would have the chance to raise important issues with the commissioner. Perhaps someone would be listening.

When King canceled the rest of the meetings, claiming that he wished to avoid "the disruptions caused by the special interests," no words could describe the disappointment. This is a cowardly act that will silence none of us whose children the commissioner's policies will affect the most.

It is one thing to disagree with the minds and hearts of thousands of parents and teachers. It is another thing to deny them due process.

Our education system cannot be a model for children when its leaders run and hide.

Anthony Pantaleno, Lynbrook

Editor's note: The writer is a school psychologist.

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