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Readers must be heard on tax plan

Over the past few weeks, readers of this newspaper and others around the state have been treated to a wide array of letters-to-the-editor dealing with the proposed tax increase and reform package of Gov. Bob Riley.

On one occasion, a reader of this newspaper suggested that only letters from the immediate area be printed in The Times.

For a number of reasons, we believe Gov. Riley’s tax package receives all the attention &045;&045; and opinion &045;&045; that can be offered. People across Alabama who take the time to write letters about Riley’s plan deserve to have their opinions heard.

Meanwhile, we would like to take this opportunity to encourage readers of The Demopolis Times to take part in one of the most effective forums for public debate. In every edition of The Times, we offer everyday citizens the chance to share their opinions. We publish letters whether or not we agree with those letters, simply offering readers an avenue in which they can speak their minds.

So far, the opinions of local citizens have been fairly quiet. Few letters to this newspaper (and others in the area) from local writers have focused on Riley’s plan, and we want to encourage citizens to speak up.

Over the next two months, the citizens of Alabama have a civic duty to educate themselves on the largest tax increase in this state’s history. If the majority of citizens who vote in a Sept. 9 referendum on this tax decide it’s a good thing for the state to raise more money, then we all must know why higher taxes are better for the public.

If the majority of citizens vote against the tax increase, we all must know that taking money from the public pocket was not the best way to fund state government.

Whether or not you support the tax is a decision each person in Marengo County will have to make. Whether or not the state of Alabama files for bankruptcy because of depleted funding is something Alabamians will have to accept if the tax increase does not pass.

Either way, we encourage citizens to pick up a pen or open an e-mail and write their thoughts about this proposed tax increase. Don’t worry about having a Ph.D. in English. Just share your ideas and use one of the best forums available to people in Demopolis and Marengo County.

In a gray-shaded box below, you can find all the information for sending letters to the editor. We hope you will participate in this debate.