December 22, 2012

Letters to the editor: Paving the way for smoother commute

During construction season, I bicycle commute weekdays to work in Portland from my home in North Yarmouth. At season's end, I wish to thank some folks who helped make the commute less risky and more enjoyable:

click image to enlarge

A cyclist commutes to work in Boston in 2008. A North Yarmouth man who rides his bike to work in Portland voices his appreciation for improvements to a stretch of road he rides and for the courtesy shown by road crews along the way.

2008 File Photo/The Associated Press

A section of Route 115 was substantially paved this year ("2.36 miles" from the Congregational Church at Route 231 to the Gray town line). This stretch of road was awful, pounded by big trucks, school buses and the commuting hordes.

I waited all summer to experience some new pavement. Finally, despite rain and culverts, the Maine Department of Transportation got the job done, a smooth road, just a beautiful thing. My thanks to MDOT contractors and traffic controllers for a job well done.

Hawkeye LLC was contracted to set up new transmission lines across the state for Central Maine Power. Every day, the Hawkeye service vehicles would NASCAR their way to various work sites along my commuting route. I wish to thank them for their courteous driving. Hawkeye caravans passed me many times through summer and fall and always gave me space, never a spiteful retaliation as they passed.

I witnessed their progress on the towering transmission line near Bruce Hill crossing Route 9, including some of the final aerial work where a helicopter was lowering linemen down to the highest pole crosstrees to do some punch list items.

The work looked as dangerous as bicycling to work sometimes is, and maybe that is what it takes to understand courtesy on the road, to realize how easy it is to be smacked by a larger vehicle, just as it might be to take a long fall from the top of a power line pole.

Stuart Rose

North Yarmouth

Impact of proposed tax hikes greatly exaggerated

If the top marginal tax rate increases from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, the federal income tax due on net income above $397,000 increases by 4.6 percent, or $4,600 for every net $100,000 earned above $397,000.

Therefore, if net income is $497,000, the tax increase as a percent of total taxable income is less than 1 percent. Small-business owners earning less than $397,000 net taxable income will be exempt from this increase.

As a taxpayer reporting income from a small business, I wish I had the problem of having to pay the top marginal rate. I would gladly forfeit my exemption in the less-than-$397,000-net-income club.

Tom Foley

Cumberland Foreside

The front-page Associated Press article "Tax plan: Hard hit on business" (Dec. 10) begs for clarification.

First, let's dispel a myth. Except for a 7.65 percent payroll tax on wages, the federal government does not tax and will not tax a business on money spent on an employee. The cost of an employee is a business expense and, as such, is actually a way to avoid income taxes -- unless that employee makes you more money, which is the whole idea, after all.

The article states "... if you borrow money to start or expand your business ... only the interest portion of the loan payment is tax deductible." This may be true if you are pocketing that borrowed money as profit, but if you are indeed spending the money on legitimate business expenses, those are deductible.

Enter the shareholders of McGregor Metalworking Cos. in Springfield, Ohio. The seven principals in the business are realizing $4 million in profits and are whining about their $250,000 tax increase. Taking a cue from Wall Street, these geniuses make sure they get theirs first. If there is any money left, they invest it in the business.

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