Letters to the Editor
Readers write about taxation on interstate telecommunication, family planning services, religious tests for office holders, the importance of correct spelling, and the failure of airports and regulators.
End double taxation for interstate telecommuters
In response to the Nov. 26 article, " 'No, don't bother coming in...'," while employer resistance to telecommuting may finally be weakening, the resistance of some state tax authorities to this work practice is not.
For example, despite the benefits of telecommuting for businesses – including more successful recruitment efforts, lower turnover, increased productivity, and real estate savings – New York's Department of Taxation and Finance insists on a policy that makes telecommuting needlessly hard for employers to use.
Under a rule known as the "convenience of the employer" rule, the department taxes nonresidents who sometimes telecommute to their New York employers on the income they earn when they work from home, even though their home states can tax the same income. The double tax threat can sour employees on telecommuting and sabotage the long-term ability of businesses to tap its advantages. Proposed federal legislation called the Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act would abolish the penalty for interstate telecommuting and help bring state tax systems like New York's more in line with how businesses are increasingly choosing to operate.
As employers and employees devise new ways to make interstate telecommuting work for their mutual benefit, state tax officials should not be permitted to stand in the way.
Nicole Belson Goluboff
Advisory board member, Telework Coalition
Family planning services are needed
In response to the Nov. 20 article, "Brazil doles out 'morning after' pills": I applaud the efforts of officials to reduce "Brazil's sky-high number of unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions." Despite highly restrictive abortion laws, Brazil has one of the highest abortion rates in the world.
Globally, unsafe abortion is one of the largest contributors to maternal mortality. It highlights the failure of many governments and the international community to address a preventable public health tragedy that perpetuates social injustice. Studies show that where access to comprehensive family planning services and information are available, unsafe abortion levels fall.
Increasing access to family planning services is the key to reducing the burden on public health systems. This news from Brazil marks a step in the right direction.
Regional director, International Planned Parenthood Federation
Religious tests necessary?
Regarding Mansoor Ijaz's Nov. 27 article, "A Muslim belongs in the Cabinet": I was chilled at the implications of Mitt Romney's hesitation to include a Muslim in his cabinet due to their small numbers in the general population. This statement not only reveals prejudice against a particular group in the US, but sounds as if there is now a "religious test" for office holders at the highest levels. Muslims need not apply.
It left me with an ugly déjà vu of Germany circa 1930s.
Hold 'deer' correct spelling
Regarding the Nov. 26 essay, "Reign in those vocal chords": I agree completely with this commentary. We need to preserve correct spelling. We need to hold dear (not deer) the correct spelling of words. To accept a new spelling simply because many people spell a word some new way is to use the lowest possible standard.
The blame game: airports or the government?
Regarding your Nov. 23 editorial, "Flight delays start in Washington": The government controls airports and airways. Airlines control flight schedules. Each one blames the other for the problem of congestion and delays.
Some basic thoughts on congestion:
1. Every airport has a capacity. When that capacity is exceeded, delays occur.
2. Airline flight scheduling exceeds airport capacities, which results in congestion and delays.
3. Most airports are underutilized on the basis of a 24-hour clock.
4. Airlines should be required to schedule on a 24-hour basis, then congestion and delays will be reduce – maybe even eliminated.
Isn't it also time to acknowledge that free-market deregulation have failed? Where are the regulators? Where is Congress?
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