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Letter: Suffolk still pursuing tax deduction remedy

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Monday.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Monday. Credit: James Carbone

The Page 1 headline “Suffolk drops tax saving plan” [News, July 1] wrongly suggested that Suffolk County is dropping its plan to create charitable gift reserve funds to enable homeowners to deduct the equivalent of their property taxes on federal tax returns. I want to make it clear that Suffolk County continues to explore a challenge to the punitive new IRS code.

We established the first county-run charitable gift reserve fund, in accordance with state law, to provide relief for taxpayers immediately. But after we took this common-sense action, the IRS, in an unprecedented fashion, circumvented Congress and contrived regulations to block our plan.

We are fighting back. At my direction, Suffolk County has joined with a regional coalition that is using the pro-bono services of a premier tax law firm to challenge these unfair and, we believe, illegal restrictions.

In Suffolk County, we are committed to pursuing all available options to protect taxpayers. We will not stop fighting until the punitive, arbitrary and unfair tax regulations are repealed.

Steve Bellone,

  Hauppauge

Editor’s note: The writer is Suffolk County executive.

Time-off voting law will bring workplace havoc

The new state law that allows employees up to three hours of paid time off to vote on Election Day should be rethought [“New voting law a costly change,” Editorial, July 1]. To take the time off, employees must be registered to vote and must give an employer at least two days’ notice of the need for time to vote. Employers can decide whether time off is taken at the beginning or end of a shift.

I believe this law could cause havoc for companies, schools, transit agencies and police departments.

Most of us have the ability to get to the polls sometime from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day. And beginning this year, voters in New York also will have 10 days of early voting before Election Day.

Jacqueline Kline,

  Commack

The flag code — and the right to dissent

In discussing the decision of U.S. women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe to protest inequality by keeping her arms at her sides and not singing during the national anthem at the World Cup, a reader asked, “When did it become mandatory to place your hand over your heart during the playing of the national anthem?” [“Who sets rules for anthem reverence?,” Letters, June 28].

The reader should know that sections of the U.S. code serve as a guide to flag etiquette. The code states that, “During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.”

Sure, we have the right to free speech, as the reader stated, and it is her right to not salute the flag during the anthem, but as we are taught what our rights as Americans are, we should also be taught what respect means. And respecting our flag, our country, and all those who have served and sacrificed to keep us free is something I proudly do. I choose to stand at attention with my right hand over my heart during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem. If some choose to show disrespect, it is their right, but it isn’t right.

Fred Haslett,

  Cedarhurst

What makes America great is that you do not have to stand for the national anthem. You do not have to hold your hand over your heart, and you do not have to be intimidated by windbag egomaniacs. Even they are protected by our Constitution. Isn’t America great?!

Ronald Zoia,

  Massapequa Park

How proud many of us have been to see the U.S. women’s soccer team excel. However, Megan Rapinoe’s display has killed the fun and excitement for me.

Flag protests in the NFL made me stop watching those games. I still root for the New York Giants, but will not watch them play on TV.

In so many countries, Rapinoe would be in jail for what she is doing. Yes, she may have problems with some issues in the United States, but we celebrate our great country; we do not defame it. This kind of disloyalty is not something to be proud of.

Robert Casale,

  Glen Head

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