Even though April 15 is months away, tax reform is one of the topics in this week’s ClickBack. Also on tap for reader comments are Olympian Michael Phelps and his apparent use of marijuana, the colder than normal January that just ended, and the Obama stimulus plan. Please click on the individual questions to respond.
Democratic leaders in the Legislature are considering a plan to broaden the list of items on which sales tax must be paid, perhaps extending it to services such as haircuts and lawyer visits, and to products such as newspapers and some food. In exchange for that new revenue, they are considering lowering the top income tax rate and the threshold at which it kicks in. Are there better ways to spread the tax burden more equitably? Should the sales tax rate be raised? Should businesses pay more? Or is the answer to cut state spending further?
A photograph made public Sunday showed Michael Phelps, who won eight gold medals in swimming events in the summer Olympics in Beijing, smoking marijuana. Mr. Phelps, 23, said he regretted the behavior, which occurred at a party in November. Are athletes such as Mr. Phelps obligated to behave like role models? Or is that asking too much? Should he have the freedom to indulge in some youthful indiscretions? Does accepting endorsement money come with responsibilities? Should the companies paying Mr. Phelps end their contracts with him?
Weather service officials say Bangor’s average temperature for last month was nearly 8 degrees below normal, probably putting it among the 10 coldest Januarys on record. Does this mean that global warming is a myth? Or is it evidence of extreme climate change?
House Republicans did not support the nearly $900 billion Obama stimulus plan, perhaps betting that it will not turn the economy around by 2010, when they will seek re-election. Will they regret that vote? Or will most Americans conclude the stimulus package is a pork-laden giveaway that succeeds only in running up the national debt?