2017-01-15 / Opinion


Rep. Howell opposes tax increases

In the January 11 edition of The County Press, a letter to the editor wrongly implied that I had supported the recent gas tax and vehicle registration fee increases. Not only did I not vote for these tax increases — I wasn’t even elected to the Legislature yet when those increases were approved. I have never voted for any tax increases during my time in the House of Representatives. In fact, I have actually worked very actively against the irresponsible tax increases that were placed before the voters as Proposal 1 in 2015. The voters wisely rejected these increases by an 80-percent “no” vote.

Contrary to the misleading statement by the writer of the letter to the editor, I have introduced bills for tax reduction. Currently, I am in the process of reintroducing a bill that I introduced within weeks of my initial election to the House that would reinstate the retirement income tax exemptions which were wrongfully taken away from retirees in 2011. Simply put, I am in total opposition to the pension tax.

More recently, I have been in favor of a bill reducing the income tax that the hardworking people of Michigan pay each and every year. I am proud to announce that House Bill 4001, which I and other members of the House pushed for, has now been introduced, which would do exactly that. Hard-earned money earned by citizens of Lapeer County as well as all residents of our state, should be able to remain in the pockets of those same people. It is their money and they should be able to keep as much as possible.

As I have always done, I encourage any citizen to contact my office at any time as to questions they may have on bills I have voted on or sponsored. Call 517-373-1800 or by e-mail at garyhowell@ house.mi.gov. I do want to once again thank the residents of Lapeer County with entrusting me with the high honor of being their voice in Lansing, a responsibility that I take seriously and with great humility.

Rep. Gary Howell

Deerfield Township

Time for some answers on firearms ordinance

On Jan. 5, I attended the

Lapeer County Commission meeting held in the basement of the County Complex Building and I was not satisfied with the answer they gave me about a possible countywide firearms ordinance.

At the August and September 2016 commission meetings I gave them a Powerpoint presentation about private gun ranges and issues facing homeowners. I presented my information and they seemed receptive and said they would review it.

However, at the January 2017 meeting when I asked them about their position on the issue no one would make a public comment for the record. When I asked the chair of the commission why he would not state his position on my request, his reply was “we are only here to listen.” He would not state a position.

One of the statutory roles of the county commission is the adoption of local ordinances, so I was alarmed that they had over four months to review my data and make recommendations or comments, however at the January meeting they refused to answer my questions about firearm safety regulations.

In the past six months I have run into many roadblocks from our state senator and state representative about firearm issues. Many times they will not meet with me or even read my intensive data. I ask you Lapeer County, why do we need seven commissioners when they cannot or will not answer questions from the public?

The other issue I have with the commission is they always open their meetings with a Christian prayer. I find this practice highly offensive, because there should be a separation between church and state. Imagine the madness if I requested them to open with an Islamic prayer.

We already have high taxes in Lapeer County and we shouldn’t be paying for seven political figures who believe they don’t have to answer the public’s questions.

Gary L. Cooley

North Branch

Thank you President Obama for health care I can afford

With so much negativity being said about Obamacare, I’d like to say something positive.

I admit I did not know what Obamacare was. I’ve been hearing so many bad things about it for a while.

Last year, I was sick and was not able to work for months. I still cannot return to work.

What happened was after 12 weeks of being off work, I lost my health insurance from my employer. I was able to go on Cobra, but shocked how much it would cost.

Still not working and needing health insurance, I turned to the marketplace. Through the Affordable Care Act, I was able to get health insurance for around 80-percent less than Cobra.

So what I’m saying is I’m not able to return to work, I had no income coming in and I’m still able to have health insurance that I can actually afford. I would not be able to afford health insurance without Obamacare.

So all things about Obamacare are not bad for everyone. It does help us who could not afford the high price of health insurance on our own. Thank you President Obama.

Pat Jessel


Tell the whole story

I am writing in response to your editorial in the Jan. 8 edition of The County Press.

You are the perfect example of why the “news media” cannot be trusted anymore in this country. You never tell the whole story or the truth.

In your editorial concerning Trump’s threat to add a “big border tax” to vehicles made in Mexico and then sold in the U.S., I am sure if you had done some research you would have found that he as president cannot simply do this.

Why? Because NAFTA would have to be changed with all involved in total agreement. You do remember NAFTA, don’t you?

If you want to remain a credible source of information then do your readers a favor and tell the whole story — not just what suits your agenda.

Raymond Schotcz


Appreciate support of new book room

The Friends of the deAngeli Library appreciate the article written by Krystal Moralee about the opening of our new book room at the New To You Consignment Store in downtown Lapeer.

We are excited to have a new outlet for our used books and assure the community that our regular book sales will continue at the library, our first one being March 13-18.

We invite the community to stop by New To You and see our great selection of books. New titles will be added weekly.

We also appreciate our partnership with Lapeer Team Work in making this project possible.

Jan Watz

Book sale coordinator

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