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Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@okgazette. com or sent online at, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

raising taxes? really?

Everyone knows that tax money helps to keep water clean for drinking, to repair potholes on city streets and to spread sand/ salt on icy roads, etc. Nathaniel Batchelder implies (Commentary, “Cutting taxes is not the answer,” July 11, Oklahoma Gazette) taxes once funded mental hospitals and substance abuse programs, as if the state does not fund them any longer. Oklahoma’s mental health system is centralized and primarily state-funded. Oklahoma voters approved a net 55-centsper-pack increase in the cigarette tax in 2008, and most of that revenue went to health care. The state’s mental health and substance abuse programs are receiving millions of dollars.

When a family member loses his or her job, that family has less income and normally creates a budget to live within its means, maybe cutting cable TV, Internet, etc. Can government not survive within a budget, instead of requiring taxpayers to give more? It could if it tried, but it’s easier to raise taxes and appeal to the bleeding hearts of the American people.

A reason why we see many mental health people in jail or on the streets is because they refuse to take their medicines. If a crime is committed by people who refused to take their medicine, they should be incarcerated.

Everyone loves free things, correct? I wonder if any Oklahomans have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Al-Anon for friends and families of substance abusers? These programs are free to anyone who needs help.

To summarize his commentary, Batchelder attempts an example of giving by using the Marshall Plan used from 1948 to 1952. For those unfamiliar, this program was implemented after World War II to rebuild economies and modernize Europe. The American people were forced to pay extra taxes to rebuild Europe in a war created by Germany. This is not a matter of principle, and those who can contribute “their fair share” should pay more, as Batchelder stated.

He wants to have taxes raised in a recession and then refers to giving by explaining Americans freely “giving” their tax money to Europe when the government decided this for the people. Is he suggesting raising taxes to give more to mental health and substance abuse programs that already receive millions of dollars? Who knows?

But the next time you see a smoker, thank them for giving to health care.

—Amber Nemecek Oklahoma City

shameful conduct

In regard to the “State of health” article by Mark Beutler (Aug. 1, Gazette), I wanted to say that I agree with the senti ment of the article. However, I’m disappointed the Gazette chose to include “headless fatty” stock footage. Most of those pictures are taken without permission. The idea that a person can’t walk down the street and avoid having their picture taken and plastered over the Internet due to their weight is shameful, to say the least. After all: How dare we not treat other people as human beings due to their BMI!

—Emily Hunt Norman

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