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President Barack Obama had promised during the campaign that there will be no tax increase for individuals earning less than $200,000, $250,000 for the family. The 40,000 employees of the state colleges and universities earning less than $200,000 have been forced to go on six furlough days during the 2010 academic year.
Roughly 3 percent of the annual pay will be taken off in a six-month period from the faculty, but only 2.31 percent from non-teaching staff. What a way to reduce the salaries on the one hand, and let the president keep the promise, at least for the time being?
Some changes have also been made in the health coverage that the Board of Regents will implement from 2010, which will also reduce the take-home pay of all the employees from January 2010. These furloughs and health care plans will generate $43.5 million.
The calculation for pay cuts is unfair, because the faculty is being penalized at a higher rate for fewer days’ work. It would have been fair to use the flat rate of 2.5 or 3 percent for all employees. The daily rate could also be computed by dividing the monthly pay by 30. But that would have given the Regents less money, and would have been fair and less "taxing" on the employee.
The exemption given to employees making less than $23,330 year from furlough deduction is also unfair. The furlough amount deducted from my paycheck every month for the next six months would literally take the food off our table.
Gov. Sonny Perdue’s decision of using furlough to make up the loss in the revenues of the state is not only unfair and indirect taxation using unfair formula, but it also is a case of discrimination on the basis of employment. Instead of using the furlough, the governor could ban all expenses on Halloween decorations and events, curtail unnecessary government employees’ travel and other expenses. Taxes can be raised on luxury items, like cars, jets, cruises and houses over a million dollars.
All of these would have raised more money and would not have affected hard-working, middle-income families. There is now less incentive for the employees to work with increased efficiency or dedication.
Syed R. Ahmed
Assistant professor, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega
Church should not concern itself with secular matters
At first glance, Kyle Shook’s Oct. 8 letter "One group seeks to push its beliefs on all Americans" appears to be anti-Christian. However, from all indications, Mr. Shook unwittingly recognizes the difference between earthly and heavenly government.
Over the years, many people have been deceived into believing that Christianity has the responsibility of solving the ills of society. As revealed in scripture, the church should not be wasting its time trying to place the yoke of Christ upon unbelievers. It simply will not fit!
Why the church insists on diddling around with secular things rather than heavenly things may be New Testament prophecy being fulfilled.
There is no mention in scripture that the church is to become entangled with things declared lawful by a government. This includes abortion. Paul’s admonition in 1 Timothy for the body of Christ is that we pray for our secular leaders and those in secular authority that we may lead a quite and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
The Lord Jesus Christ described the church’s relationship with the powers that be thusly: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s."
For those of you, religious or otherwise, who are truly concerned about the fate of aborted fetuses, may I suggest the book "The Theology of Infant Salvation" by R.A. Webb, D.D. While intentional abortion is not mentioned in the book information on the fate of stillborn and infant deaths is covered in sufficient detail to inspire emotional comfort and assure God’s sovereignty in the matter.
William P. Clark