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Our readers write

Our readers write

Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 7:00 pm

Tennessee getting
more than it gives

To The Editor:
Now that April 15 has come and gone, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news? For every dollar that individuals and businesses in Tennessee send to the IRS, Tennessee gets a $1.30 back. That’s right. Tennessee receives one third more in federal funding than Tennesseans pay in. Now do you feel somewhat better about those taxes you just paid? I hope so.
To put this in another perspective, Congressman Stephen Fincher, an avowed Tea Party member and an outspoken critic of federal giveaways, receives more money in farm subsidies than any other member of Congress. From 1995-2009, he and his wife, owners of Stephen and Lynn Fincher Farms, received $3,368,843 in federal farm aid, almost $3 million more than any other member of Congress received. That amounts to $224,589.56 a year. But only $168,442.17 came from Tennessee’s share of tax revenues. The remaining $56,147.39 came from somewhere else.
Now for the bad news. Where does all our extra money come from? Well, you can’t get blood from a turnip. It comes from the only place it can — from those states like California and New York, which pay more in taxes than they get back. Yes, that’s right. We’ve been sponging, mooching and freeloading off other states for years, some of us more so than others. And all the while decrying federal spending. How embarrassing!
Now, if you didn’t know that other states were helping support us, don’t feel as if you’ve been left out of the loop. Sen. Bob Corker didn’t know it either, as evidenced in his outrage over a recent proposal by the Federal Reserve to write down in several states the principal on houses that are underwater (houses worth less than the amount owed on them). According to him, this proposal would result in a “massive transfer of wealth” from Tennessee, where homeowners played by the rules, to states like California and New York, where homeowners didn’t.
Senator Corker is wrong on two counts. First, many homeowners whose houses are underwater are in that position through no fault of their own. When the housing bubble that took off like a rocket during the Bush Administration finally burst in 2008, many blameless homeowners who played by the rules saw the value of their property decline dramatically overnight.
And, of course, as you now know, there’s not going to be a massive transfer of wealth from Tennessee. This proposal will not cost Tennesseans one thin dime, a fact which a recent issue of Time magazine pointed out. More embarrassment for us, because now everyone in the United States who read that issue knows that our state lives in part off the taxes paid by other states. And that we have a U.S. senator who didn’t know it.
I don’t know whether the proposal Senator Corker is so outraged about is a good one or not. But I don’t think he or any Tennessean should complain when states like California and New York have a chance to get a bit more of their taxes returned. It may mean a little less for us, but fair is fair. And the least we can do, if we run across any Californians or New Yorkers, is to give them a hug and a word of thanks. They deserve it.
Lynda Hamblen
Union City
Food donations
much appreciated
To The Editor:
This letter is to say a huge thank you to the many people who were involved in the post office community food drive and the generosity of the community.
As co-managers for the food pantry at Helping Hands Ministry, your donations were so greatly appreciated and needed.
We are so blessed to live in such a generous “love thy neighbor” community. We want you know how grateful we are.
Helping Hand Ministry provides food for on the average of 30-35 families a month, so you can see how great the need is to help feed those in need. Because of your love and generosity, less families will go hungry tonight.
Thank you again and God bless.
T.J. & Pat Johnson
Helping Hand Ministry

Published in the Messenger 5.23.12