Bad timing for tax changes
Interesting articles have been printed regarding the proposed tax plan changes, primarily referencing an increase in the standard deduction from $6,000 to $12,000. At the same time, the elimination of the personal exemption of $4,100 in 2017 results in only a taxpayer gain of $1,900 (if filing jointly, $3800).
Many middle-income taxpayers will lose real estate, state income tax and sales tax deductions exceeding the described savings. But the biggest loser will be anyone who will need the casualty loss deduction this year.
This is not the time to tell the millions of survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate and the California wildfires that the casualty loss deduction is no longer available to partially offset your uninsured losses and encourage property rebuilding.
M.L. Mason, Marco Island
Special staff for special needs
Hurricane Irma is over and we are on the road to beautifying our beautiful city and surrounding areas. Our compliments to everyone.
We want to especially take this time to thank the patient and wonderful staff who were manning the phone calls at the county Special Needs department. They were so concerned that we were picked up and transferred to a shelter.
Since all the special needs shelters were filled, we were taken to Laurel Oak Elementary School. There we were greeted by the most efficient staff and concerned volunteers. They made us feel welcome and met the transport bus with a smile and got us situated very quickly.
We want to especially thank the compassionate and awesome principal of that school, Marilou Andrews. She had everything and everyone so organized and treated everyone with respect and thoughtfulness and was always smiling.
Then came the day of departure and we were waiting to be picked up and in walked our "angel," Cheri Zaks, school receptionist. We were totally exhausted, having spent two nights and almost three days at the shelter, and were anxious to get home. She offered to bring us home. She loaded us up within minutes and graciously brought us home, in spite of road conditions and fuel shortage.
We will always remember these special people. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Mike and Eillene Rehmer, Naples
Regulate car haulers
It’s tourist season again and I welcome our visitors and the economic benefits they bestow upon our community. However, the influx of car carriers delivering their vehicles is presenting very unsafe road conditions.
I wrote to the Collier County commissioners about this problem a couple years ago and gave them some solutions, but nothing was ever done to correct the problem. Now, the number of car carriers has doubled or tripled, presenting unsafe conditions for the truck drivers, the car owners and the general public. They can be seen parking on the side of major roads, turnoffs from major roads and sometimes in the middle of local streets, blocking traffic.
It would appear easy enough to solve this problem by having designated drop-off and pickup locations, but in lieu of that, why not have the Sheriff’s Office begin writing traffic violations?
James Moritz, Naples
Don’t cut veterans benefits
As a member of the federal community who served our country for years, I am deeply concerned that my hard-earned benefits will be cut to offset proposed tax policy changes.
I ask my representative and senators to oppose such cuts to the federal community. I based my career and retirement planning on long-standing, promised benefit calculations. Any cuts to what I earned break that promise and denigrates the value of public service.
Congress is currently debating reforms to our tax code. Paying for touted middle-class tax relief on the backs of middle-class federal employees and retirees is wrong. My retirement and health benefits were earned through years of hard work -- they are not gifts to rescind.
Gregory Minarik, Naples
Retired Air Force chief master sergeant