Letters to the Editor -- June 24, 2011

Retirees ask for support with state bill

The State of Delaware will soon have a grand opportunity to recognize and show appreciation to military retirees living in Delaware who spent a career in the defense of the USA, and to their families who faithfully supported them.

Equally important is the coming opportunity to enable Delaware’s federal civilian retired employees to attain equity and parity with counterpart Social Security pensioners whose pensions are already exempt from state income tax.

Many of these civilian retirees supported military operations, while others sustained the framework of America which enables our citizenry to go about their lives and business in a civil and fruitful manner.

This opportunity is in the form of House Bill 97, which will come to a vote in the Delaware House of Representatives in the very near future.

Passage of this bill would grant a whole or partial exemption of pensions from state income tax for these retirees and would essentially give them the same consideration that is afforded Social Security pensioners.

Federal civilian employees also paid into a retirement system and were unable to pay into Social Security. Due to the manner in which State of Delaware recognized the exemption for Social Security pensions, federal civilian employees were not included.

If you are a military or federal civilian retiree, contact your state representative or senator to voice your support for HB 97. Don’t forget to invite your family, friends and neighbors to do the same!

All registered voters in Delaware are also invited to voice their support for this bill.

The essence of this bill is equity and fairness.

Time is of the essence also. Contact your representative or senator today!

Walt Berwick, federal civilian retiree
Harry Kreger, military retiree

Booth offers opinions on state issues

Ever heard the expression “a horse of a different color is still a horse?” The same may apply with HB 40 and newly introduced House legislation.

Recently, House Bill 146 was introduced to expand the current number of casinos to include two more, bringing the total to five. Regardless, fully knowledgeable that my district is not in favor of additional gambling sites, there are problems with this bill. I am not voting to expand casino/gambling in our state, and I want to point out some issues that should be important to Sussex County residents.

The bill proposes that a Lottery Redevelopment Committee be appointed to consider bids or applications. This nine-person committee has a possibility of not having a single member from Sussex County. Since the bill asks for a business plan and a time table, it would seem a successful private-sector member would be in order. There have been many examples that tell a story of the differences between upstate and downstate. This should be a local decision. The bill would allow appointment of three members each by the governor, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The bill also moves away from the original intent regarding the harness-racing industry and why slots were approved in the first place. The section calling on the existing racing venues to maintain racing dates and the added expenses that go with it are patently unfair. While the first expansion bill would have simply allowed any new track to be treated the same as the other three in existence, Sections 6 and 7 of HB 146, makes sure there are distinctions between the two. It mentions that “fees” would level the playing field, which I assume would be set by a future General Assembly.

Lastly, the prospect of additional competition could be hurtful to existing venues. As report after report mentions, there are only so many dollars out there to compete for. The opening of Ocean Downs will provide a testament to the viability of expansion. It would be advisable to wait to see the effects of their marketing on the downstate venues. I recognize that the sponsor has intentions of using this legislation as an economic tool, but I do not think the local support is there and the ultimate decisions are not local either.

State Sen. Joseph W. Booth
19th District

Local resident against Sussex casinos

Money talks, but in this game everybody loses.

I support the vote to kill casinos in Delaware. Evidently, a bipartisan group of state representatives voted to table a bill to allow casino gambling in Sussex County. The proponents of this bill make the unbelievable claim that casino gambling will create thousands of new jobs in this area.

While some temporary jobs would be created by the construction of new facilities, along with some new low-paying service jobs, casino gambling will not address the long-term problems for the unemployed and under-employed in our state.

The problem for employment is the long-term dwindling of wealth-creating endeavors and industry.

We need to develop our energy resources which sit off the mouth of the Delaware River and were discovered in the 1970’s (and have been off limits ever since). We need to promote manufacturing similar to the jet-plane manufacturing site at the county airport, which is a public/private endeavor which employs highly skilled workers. Finally, we need to improve our river and port facilities to promote the export of our agricultural products to markets throughout the world. More efficient port and river shipping will lower costs and make our farm production more affordable on the world market.

The jobs produced by manufacturing, agriculture and transportation industry far out strip the opportunities associated with a gambling facility. Moreover, the incomes for the workers are more significant, with even greater growth potential.

In commercial transactions, everyone is supposed to win, and 99 percent of the time that is true. Gambling will syphon investments away from the things our community really needs and therefore creates no winners.

So I support the position taken by our bipartisan representatives and thank them for being brave enough to vote for our best interests, rather than to give into the pressure of special interests and the administration.

Bill Carroll
Bethany Beach

QRCF grateful for help with tournament

The Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation (QRCF) held its annual Golf Classic fundraiser at Cripple Creek Country Club on June 2. The weather was beautiful, and we had a great turnout of golfers and volunteers. All in all, the tournament was a resounding success. Its proceeds will go directly to fund $16,000 in college scholarships and over $25,000 in grants to organizations within the Bethany-Fenwick area this year.

The success of this event is attributed to the contributions of area businesses, residents and organizations that sponsored the tournament and generously donated monies, prizes, food, beverages, advertising and their time, making it the best tournament in the region. Of course, without our golfers, who not only played but generously participated in games on the course, there would be no tournament, so a special thanks is extended to them as well.

It is not possible to name everyone involved, but QRCF is sincerely grateful to each of you; thank you for supporting our mission to improve the quality of life in the Quiet Resorts.

Brent Poffenberger
Cheryl Wisbrock
Event co-chairs