Tax plan

To the Editor:

The Republican tax plan rewards their big donors with big tax cuts that will not magically pay for themselves. Let’s park the Republican truckload of double talk for a minute and consider a plan that really benefits the middle class.

If we have the goal of a tax system that raises enough revenue to fund the legitimate and beneficial operations of government by efficiently and fairly taxing the wealth created by the economy, then it might take a little longer than a month or two to think things through. Instead of meeting with lobbyists in private or at fundraisers and then bringing out some backroom deal for a hasty vote, Congress could hear testimony from expert witnesses in open hearings. Item by item, legislation could be carefully crafted. But a few steps could be taken now for the 2017 tax year.

Raising the standard deduction by $10,000 and leaving everything else in place would give middle income taxpayers a $1,000 tax break, and people with incomes below $20,350 would not have to file. This would provide relief to those burdened by payroll taxes, state and local taxes, and the hidden taxes in the cost of everything. (The Republican plan has a lower standard deduction, raises the tax rate, and eliminates some deductions.)

There are more than enough uncollected taxes to offset these tax cuts. The IRS should be fully funded. It is estimated that every dollar spent on enforcement yields four dollars in increased revenues. Just the fear of an audit would increase compliance. An IRS task force could be charged with helping congress identify and eliminate tax evasion schemes and tax avoidance loopholes. That the Republicans would rather cut funding for the IRS should tell us whom they are working for.

John Watson


Wine country fires

To the Editor:

The article about the Wine Country Fires by Kevin Fagan is one of the best articles I’ve ever read. He made the story read like a suspense novel, and although we’ve all been through wildfires in Sonora, I hadn’t realized until I read this article that the Sonoma-Napa fires were of a dynamic never seen before in California. The decision about whether to use the cell alert system reminded me of the first use of that system during our recent fire, and how it resulted in 911 being jammed with calls. The split second decisions each affected homeowner made without knowing the path of the fire could have been the fate of our community. I know it wasn’t local reporting but thank you for expanding your coverage to include it. Sincerely,

Barbara Dresslar