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Comments show Romney ?knows little about taxes

In a closed-door speech to rich campaign donors that was caught on tape, Mitt Romney recently said that the 47 percent of Americans who don't owe income tax this year are lazy, "dependent on the government" and don't take responsibility for their lives.

According to the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 60 percent of Americans who pay no income tax are average, working-class people whose deductions for their children, home, earned income credits, etc., are greater than their tax bill. Which is exactly how the tax system is supposed to work: if you're raising a family on a working-class wage, the government shouldn't be taking money out of your pocket that you don't have. Another 22 percent are senior citizens with little or no taxable income. Most of the rest are students and people who've lost their jobs.

Even people who pay no federal income taxes still pay state, local, sales and payroll taxes. The poorest 20 percent of Americans pay an average 16 percent of their income in taxes, which is considerably more than the 13.9 percent in taxes Romney paid on his $3 million income in 2010.

It's clear that Romney doesn't know anything about taxes other than how to avoid paying his own. A man with $250 million and accounts in the Cayman Islands shouldn't lecture parents working minimum-wage jobs to feed their kids about how they're lazy and should be paying more taxes. But Romney said it best himself speaking to his donors: "My job is not to worry about those people."

Adama D. Brown

Warsaw

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Why do Bills fans ?leave such a mess?

Driving by The Ralph early Monday morning, I could not believe my eyes. The public and private parking lots were strewn with litter. I was disgusted and embarrassed. How can people show such total disregard for any type of pride in their community or themselves and leave such a mess?

I'm sorry to say that the people of Western New York who attend the Bills games are a bunch of slobs. If you bring it in with you, take it away. Use a trash can. It seems as though buying a ticket to a Bills game allows people to forget what is right or wrong for the day. It is just human decency to clean up after yourself. Come on, Western New York, show some pride.

Tom Braun

Hamburg

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Family dinners keep? kids on the right path

Eating dinner and underage drinking don't have anything in common. Or do they? More than a decade of research by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has consistently found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. Because of this research, CASA designated the last Monday of every September as "Family Day A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children." Join the nation on Sept. 24 and eat dinner as a family.

Teens who have frequent family dinners spend more time with their parents overall. Compared to teens who spend 21 hours or more per week with their parents, teens spending seven hours or less are twice as likely to use alcohol, and twice as likely to say they expect to try drugs in the future.

Family Day is a national movement launched by CASA Columbia in 2001 to remind parents that frequent family dinners make a difference. Family Day promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children's risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. What began as a small grass-roots initiative has grown to become a nationwide celebration that is expected to once again be proclaimed and supported by the president, all 50 U.S. governors and the mayors and executives of more than 1,000 cities and counties.

For more information on the impact of underage drinking and local efforts to combat the effects, check out www.px20.org. Px20 is a collaboration of Erie County agencies dedicated to preventing substance abuse and promoting mental and physical health. The agencies work together to maximize their limited resources to make an impact on problems that affect local communities, like underage drinking, prescription drug abuse and impaired driving.

Erica J. Boyce

Public Educator, Erie County

Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse

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Story about billboard? brought smile to my face

I couldn't help but chuckle after reading the article in The News about Bill Huntress and the humorous billboard ad resulting from a lost bet. There is more than meets the eye with this man.

While working at a gourmet chocolate shop in Williamsville, I saw Huntress' generous side. An elderly customer was buying sponge candy for her very ill husband in the hospital. His favorite, she said. After overhearing her conversation, Huntress, without any hesitation, paid for her order. So for those who think he is a hard-nosed developer, he probably is. But now we've seen his humorous side, and I personally witnessed his compassionate side as well. Thanks to Huntress for bringing a smile to our faces.

Kathleen Gurbacki

Lancaster

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Netanyahu is right? to sound the alarm

The recent editorial criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to persuade the United States to articulate "red lines" for Iran's illegal nuclear weapons program was flawed in two major ways. First of all, The News asserted the mistaken idea that such "red lines" are rarely if ever seen in U.S. foreign policy. Yet recent history is replete with use of such "red lines," from the current one stated by President Obama that Syrian use of chemical weapons against its own citizens will precipitate U.S. military action, to President George H.W. Bush's "red line" limiting Iraq's maintenance of its military occupation of Kuwait, to President John F. Kennedy's "red lines" against Soviet importation of nuclear-armed missiles to Cuba.

The second major flaw was the assertion that Netanyahu is attempting to interfere in American politics by advocating such "red lines." In fact, the United States has often been urged by its allies to undertake various actions without similar condemnation by The News. For example, I am quite sure that it never condemned Winston Churchill's efforts to persuade President Franklin Roosevelt to act against the Axis powers as interference in American politics. Similarly, when President Ronald Reagan was urged by Margaret Thatcher to assent to Britain's retaking of the Falkland Islands, a request that President Ronald Reagan refused, The News did not describe this as an attempt to interfere in American politics.

Netanyahu is rightly sounding the alarm about the global threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and rightly calling for the rest of the world to stand up to this threat. The use of "red lines" in addressing such a threat is in the best traditions of American foreign policy, and is in accordance with American values, politics and national interests.

Daniel H. Trigoboff

Williamsville