In response to Arthur Dumas’ letter Sept. 22 recommending letting taxes rise on small businesses making more than $200,000 per year: Mr. Dumas asked, “Am I missing something?”

The answer is yes: the calendar. As several online comments noted, Mr. Dumas’ suggestion to reinvest and add employees makes sense (assuming the business needs need new equipment or more employees), but it is not that simple.

On Dec. 31, taxes are assessed on all remaining funds, as if all the money would be personally enjoyed by the owner. With the possible exception of the calendar business itself, most enterprises do not cycle with the sun and moon.

We work to contract and delivery schedules, in most cases, with a genuine interest in maintaining valuable employees for the long term.

Of course smart businesses plan for this year-end dilemma: tactically investing in things they need, with hopes of tempering their tax bill.

But the tax calendar works against business owners who willingly forego some personal profit in order to fund future payrolls (and health insurance, and other overhead costs) in anticipation of slow income periods. The timing of these circumstances often spans tax years.

In those cases, up to 40 percent of these well-intended reserve funds fly off to Washington and Augusta. Put another way, for every $100,000 designated as a reserve, a $40,000 tax-paying job is lost.

The tax system provides no incentive to create such a reserve, and instead forces businesses to borrow to protect theirs, and their employees’ livelihoods. Don’t save, borrow.

Who thought that up? It is common sense — the domain of neither Democrats nor Republicans — that applying funds to directly support existing jobs is far more effective than attempting to create new jobs through the inherent inefficiencies of any flavor of government.

It would be nice if this were all as simple as the writer suggests.

Michael Boucher
Freeport

 

Clinton letter crossed line of very bad taste

 

Please tell me how the letter from Dave Johnson on Bill Clinton made it into the paper on Sept. 23? I thought there were standards that needed to be met before a letter was accepted for publication.

For the second time in two weeks, I am really considering canceling my subscription, in favor of a paper out of Portsmouth.

If it weren’t for Bill Nemitz I would have done so long ago. I really fear The Portland Press Herald has been taken over by right-wing goons who think that a visit to Portland by a very popular former president is something to laugh about with gutter humor.

You are not keeping it classy.

Kathy Bordeleau
York

 

Senators wrong to have obstructed pair of reforms

 

In their most recent display of obstructionist politics, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (most regrettably our only representatives in that body) saw fit to derail the defense appropriations bill prior to its even coming up for consideration in the Senate.

While only delaying the parent bill’s eventual passage — apparently no one in charge has the courage to seriously challenge that — to their everlasting shame, Snowe and Collins managed to avoid the probability of having to vote on at least two attached amendments dealing with providing deserving, undocumented young adults a pathway to citizenship, and to finally eliminate the constitutionally questionable and utterly discriminatory don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy currently infecting our armed forces.

With all her ridiculous glitter, false pretense and publicity-seeking posturing, Lady Gaga has far more credibility on these human rights and constitutionality issues than either of our posturing senators.

We in Maine should be better served.

Charles C. Cate
Ogunquit

 

Maine students aren’t all that highly ranked

 

In a recent Maine Voices column (“Teachers work hard for kids,” Sept. 15), Mark L. Gray, executive director of the Maine Education Association, argued (against Ron Bancroft and Eliot Cutler) that “Maine’s schools are doing well. “

In partial support of this assertion, Mr. Gray stated: “In 2009, our fourth-grade students ranked seventh in the country in math and third in the country in reading. Also in 2009, our eighth-grade students ranked ninth in the country in math and sixth in the country in reading.”

Unfortunately, these statements are misleading. The usual interpretation of “ranking seventh in the country” is that there are only six states doing better than Maine. But in fact eight states did better. Three of those states were tied, and those tied states were treated as just one rank by Mr. Gray.

Similarly, Maine fourth-graders in reading were not really third, they were 18th. Maine eighth-graders in math were not ninth, they were 19th. And Maine eighth-graders in reading were not sixth, they were 13th.

Bancroft and Cutler may be onto something after all.

William Vaughan Jr.
Chebeague Island

 

‘Tracing the Fore’ more hazardous than aesthetic

 

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to read that the dangerous eyesore called “Tracing the Fore” may come down. The thing — “a work of art”? — has always looked like giant saw blades to me, and what was once a nice little comforting patch of green in the midst of concrete became something to avoid like the plague.

The fact that the city in all its brilliant wisdom chose to spend $135,000 to have a few pieces of saw blade installed just stunned me — I’m so glad I don’t live in Portland, the stupidity would have made me crazy.

I wonder how many public servants could have kept their jobs if that $135,000 had been used for people’s salaries instead of setting up a dangerous, useless obstacle?

Alex Taylor
South Portland

 

Yes, remove that so-called piece of art from Boothby Square. The tourists don’t like it much and we wish it would just go away.

Bring back the park benches and create a resting spot for them and us.

William John Foley
Portland