Phil’s musicians valuable asset
If The Phil continues on its path to reduce the salaries, as well as the number of concerts, performed by the Philharmonic musicians, won’t they be cutting off the hand that feeds them? They apparently haven’t bought in to the city’s efforts to revitalize downtown if they diminish one of the cultural arts of the community. Concert night provides an opportunity for attendees to spend their dollars at other downtown venues.
Loss of a downtown activities issues aside, the heart of the matter is salaries for the musicians. A dedicated musician starts his career early in life by taking lessons, music camps, college and always practice, practice, practice at a great cost of time and money. I would ask the Phil’s board of directors, would you then work for $21,000 a year? I would also ask them whether they really understand the rewards the Philharmonic musicians give to the community.
Fort Wayne is fortunate to have Philharmonic musicians who have reached and perform in a professional level that is the envy of many. They have a choice of where they play. They have chosen to work, play, and raise their families here. We don’t want to lose them.
LINDA J. KIRBY Fort Wayne
Medical device tax ripe for repeal
The Washington Post editorial opposing repeal of the medical device tax (Oct. 6) missed the mark. The medical device tax should be repealed because it’s bad for patient outcomes and a job killer.
The tax is particularly punitive because it’s imposed on gross sales rather than profits. As a result, start-ups and marginally profitable companies will be overtaxed and unable to grow and create jobs.
Worse yet, as research budgets tighten, investment in new, innovative treatments and devices will inevitably shrink. Thus, the tax limits access to life-saving and life-improving devices, including pacemakers, heart valves, artificial joints and similar products.
Medical device companies employ more than 420,000 Americans. Industry experts estimate the $30 billion sales tax will imperil 43,000 of these high-paying jobs. The tax will hit particularly hard in Indiana, where device companies employ more than 20,000 Hoosiers who make 56 percent more than the average wage in Indiana. These workers contribute more than $10 billion to the state’s economy each year.
Contrary to the Post’s assertions, any additional patients generated from Obamacare will not offset the tax burden. The truth is unreasonable payment controls and bureaucratic coverage decisions limit access to the devices and lower reimbursements to device companies.
There is strong support across the political spectrum for repealing the medical device tax. The Post should embrace this bipartisanship and highlight it as an example of how Washington should work.
REP. LUKE MESSER Greensburg
Common Core an epic boondoggle
I happened to watch an NBC News segment covering their Education Nation summit regarding Common Core State Standards. After a brief summary of the controversy regarding adoption of CCSS in some states, including Indiana, it turned to the history of the achievements in public education in Massachusetts where, I believe, two significant misrepresentations occurred: 1. That Massachusetts can attribute much of its achievements to the CCSS, when in fact, Massachusetts developed standards of its own long before CCSS came along, and achieved the ranking of first in the nation by many measures without the use of vouchers, charter schools, state takeover of schools and everything else adopted in Indiana over the last several years. 2. The implication that if you’re against CCSS then you must be against all standards, when it is not standards that are the problem. It’s that CCSS are very narrowly focused and were poorly designed in a mad rush to satisfy an aggressive reformist timeline so that the for-profit education testing and consulting industry can reap a king’s fortune from states in fees for canned curricula and repetitious testing – all of little substantiated educational value to students.
And that’s at best. At worst, thousands of children will be cheated out of a real education and taxpayers cheated out of hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s unfortunate that the lamestream and allegedly liberal media gets this story so wrong. This is a just a classic boondoggle, the likes of which we haven’t seen in Indiana since the Wabash-Erie Canal.
PATRICK WILTSHIRE LaGrange