The Palestinian delegation reacts after the U.S. declaration of Jerusalem...

The Palestinian delegation reacts after the U.S. declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was rejected at the UN on Dec. 21, 2017. Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

Churches provide needed services

Columnist Lane Filler asserts that nonprofit organizations such as churches and charities should not be tax exempt because it means that non-supporters of religious institutions are forced to support causes that they don’t subscribe to [“End the tax exemptions for religions,” Opinion, Dec. 20].

What about those opposed to abortion who end up helping to fund it in some states for women covered by Medicaid, as well as contributing funds to abortion providers?

Let churches across the land suddenly close their doors to the many schools they run with minimal assistance from the government. Would Filler be happy at the huge increase in public school expenses that would create?

May I remind him of the myriad social services to the poor, the elderly and the addicted, including housing, food, health care and transportation? Try putting an accurate value on the churches’ contributions to disaster assistance.

Eliminate those things, and the taxpayer would get hit right between the eyes.

Debra Santoro, Amityville

Support for new tax code is shortsighted

I was surprised to see that some Newsday readers approve of the new Trump tax-cut (not reform) law [“Mixed reactions to new tax code,” Letters, Jan. 2].

This is akin to the person who thinks it’s his lucky day when he bends to pick up a nickel as his wallet is being lifted from his back pocket.

We were promised a postcard-sized tax return form, that all loopholes would be closed and that tax filing would be simple and fair. What we got is legislation that maintains loopholes, eliminates full deductions for state and local taxes, and favors individuals with items like the infamous “Corker amendment” added at the last minute to get Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s vote. I believe this amendment will personally enrich President Donald Trump.

The Trump campaign promised to end the hedge fund loophole. He said fund managers would pay a higher rate on profits. Guess what? They won’t.

The extreme shortsightedness of the law’s supporters astounds me. They will receive some small cuts that expire, while cuts for corporations and the top 1 percent won’t. They also might get billions in cuts to Medicare.

Ken Vatter, Centereach

Israel gaining more favor at the UN

The Dec. 22 news story “Haley: Moving U.S. Embassy is ‘right thing’ ” stated that “even trusted U.S. allies” were among those who condemned the United States moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

Britain, Italy, Japan, Ukraine and France hardly ever side with the United States over the issue of Israel and Palestine, not even when President Barack Obama was in office.

The article failed to note the 35 abstentions, including five by European Union members and two from Latin America. This is a significant number of abstentions on an anti-Israel UN General Assembly resolution.

Try as President Donald Trump might to take credit for this, the credit is due to Israeli diplomacy to win more favor at the UN. The tide is turning there. That’s the story that many in the media missed.

Daniel Brooks, Astoria

Trump right to stop aid to some nations

President Donald Trump is correct in questioning the foreign aid given to Pakistan and the Palestinians [“Trump rips Pakistan, alleges terror haven,” News, Jan. 2].

Over the years, the United States has given billions of taxpayer dollars to these countries, yet they arguably continue to support terrorist groups. Further, there is too little accounting on how this money is used. The citizens of these areas still live in poverty.

While the Democrats cringe at the new tax cuts giving people back their own money, maybe it’s time for our citizens to ask why they pay so much to the federal government, only to have the money shipped overseas. There are vast needs here at home. All foreign aid needs to be tied to concrete results; no more carte blanche.

Craig Henderson, West Hempstead

Good move to expand criteria for diplomas

I write to take issue with Philip S. Cicero’s op-ed decrying the state Board of Regents’ recent expansion of diploma options for students with special needs [“Success lags for disabled students,” Jan. 2].

I agree wholeheartedly with his premise that any student given a diploma needs the tools necessary to succeed in the world. However, I’ve met many students who have demonstrated such an ability but have been denied diplomas because learning disabilities prevent them from getting a certain score on a certain test. Indeed, many such students are on honor rolls, and are proven leaders in and out of the classroom.

The Regents’ action allows school districts to find different ways to measure student aptitude rather than watering down the criteria needed to graduate. Put another way, the standards should be no different, but now school superintendents can consider other evidence when determining whether a student has earned a diploma.

Let’s continue to demand that schools rigorously educate all students, but let’s also not leave any students behind because of a one-size-fits-all test. The Regents just opened the doors of opportunity to many deserving students.

Todd Kaminsky, Rockville Centre

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the State Senate.


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