Rich are already paying
 more than their fair share

People have heard for many months now, from President Obama, Warren Buffett, the media and many others, that we should "tax the rich" and make them pay "their fair share." This is pure nonsense and pure folly! First, it fans the fires of class warfare and doesn't even make a dent in our burdening debt and deficit. Secondly, the rich are paying 70 percent of all the taxes already. Don't people think that's more than their fair share?

Think about something that no one has been mentioning – the many foundations created by the rich, such as the Rockefeller and the Oishei Foundations, as well as many others that contribute to charities throughout America and the world in astronomical amounts of money per year.

In times of recession, when we have to create jobs, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the job creators. Let's stop the divisive rhetoric and, as we heard many times during the campaign, "move forward," trim spending, reduce the deficit and create jobs. "Tax the rich" is only a symbolism for a socialistic agenda that has constantly failed throughout history. It is failing now in Europe and will doom the financial system that has made America a beacon to the world.

Richard D. Grisanti



Elitist view is evident 
in remark about renters

So, Lynn Olson does not want "renters" in her Hamburg neighborhood. By her statement in the Nov. 27 News, she implies that they are second-class citizens, undesirables. What a prime example of elitism and snobbishness. My husband and I have been homeowners and now are renters. We are the same people now as we were then.

There are many reasons why people rent. In our case, being elderly was the reason. For others, ill health or disabilities may be the reason. What about hard-working, good people whose income prevents them from owning a home? Others have a good-paying job but travel a lot and want to avoid the hassle of home security and maintenance during their absence. Her statement proves that being a homeowner does not make you a better citizen or more valuable member of society.

Irene Skieresz



Zimpher has big role
 in rising college costs

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher isn't afraid to take a not-so-bold stand against the "fiscal cliff," but she does appear afraid to take responsibility for her role in driving up the cost of college tuition while reducing the quality of public higher education.

In a Nov. 26 Another Voice, Zimpher claims, "With rising college costs and the increasing call on high school graduates to enter some kind of post-graduation career training, community colleges need optimal resources." Students in Buffalo couldn't agree more.

While many factors have driven up the cost of college, the most obvious source of higher expenses for SUNY students in Buffalo is the Zimpher-stewarded Rational Tuition Plan. This plan, signed into law in the summer of 2011, locks every SUNY institution into 5 percent to 8 percent tuition increases each year for the next five years, with no consideration of the slow-moving economy. It's time for the chancellor to realize that every tuition hike puts higher education further out of reach for the very students the SUNY system was established to serve.

A November audit of the Research Foundation revealed that the chancellor, who has a base salary of $500,000, had charged a $28,000 bar tab to the SUNY system. The highest paid administrators at SUNY consume massive quantities of resources that should instead be trimmed to maintain quality education at an affordable price.

Community colleges and other SUNY institutions aren't receiving the funding they need from federal or state sources. Until Zimpher is held accountable, our schools will remain in perpetual crisis with diminishing returns for graduates and our state.

Josh Cerretti

Ph.D. candidate, UB



Group helps promote
 music, art education

I think it's safe to say that we are all aware of the school budget cuts happening across our state, specifically within the music and arts programs. However, what some may not be aware of are the untapped resources that certain community organizations have available to school districts across Western New York that would help alleviate the burden of these budget cuts.

Music is Art is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2004 by Goo Goo Dolls bassist and Buffalo native Robby Takac, that I recently checked out after hearing of its successful music and art festival in September. I visited its website and was surprised to find out that it has a number of other musically oriented programs including an Instrument Drive (this is the untapped resource I was referring to). Through the donation of instruments and monetary contributions, the organization refurbishes the instruments and donates them to area schools based on need. Teachers or administrators can go to the website and apply for the instrument(s) their program needs.

I am a mother of four children living in the Buffalo Public School District, and I recognize the important role music and art plays in the education of our children. I believe that any resources our community has to offer toward the limited budgets for music and art education should be utilized and promoted. It is organizations like Music is Art that provide the support, hope and drive needed to inspire our children's creativity both in and outside of the classroom.

Tracy Cooley



Link legislators' pay 
to their performance

It is suggested that legislators at all levels have their wages set, not by themselves, but indexed to the median household earnings of their constituents. By doing this, the fortunes of the legislators will rise and fall along with the people they are charged to represent. The most basic obligation of elected officials is to act in a manner that enhances the quality of life of the people in their communities.

Tying compensation to performance is an established principle in private industry that seems to have been validated as effective, motivating both individuals and companies to work to improve the outcomes of their functional areas of responsibility. If a legislator is effective in improving the standard of living for his constituents, that generally would be associated with increased income. This would be due to additional jobs becoming available in the community so more people are employed, higher-paying jobs becoming available or conditions improving such that businesses can afford to raise wages for the existing workforce.

If the legislators' efforts are instrumental in improving the lives of their constituents, they should also reap the associated benefits by having an increase in their own wage compensation. As the old saying goes, "a rising tide lifts all boats."

Mary Ann Bald