February 1, 2013 

Dear Editor:

A few weeks ago I started noticing an extra 1 percent sale taxes on top of one-half percent 911 sales tax charged at Hy-Vee, Walgreens and other stores in Belton. This caused me to weep as that was not voted on.

The same back in early 2000s after the established businesses such as Home Depot, Target, Kohl’s and others who had been dependent on Tax Increment Financing. The sales tax is now at 9.725 percent and 6.725 percent (for food) which is one of the highest areas within the state. These have not been voted on during elections which make this taxation without representation. Most of us have been blindsided by not being informed at all in the newspapers. My husband and I decided to minimize our purchases here and do remainder outside of Belton. Prior to October 2012, it was at

8.225 percent and 5.225 percent respectfully.

We found out it was to fund the Transportation District along Route 58 effective as of Jan. 1. Route 58 is a Missouri State Route which should not be subsidized by sales taxes to fund a TD. Whenever there’s extra commercial development, there are extra traffic lights that should be funded only by businesses, not by the state and the consumers through extra sales taxes.

We consider extra sales tax increases as inflation by hurting consumers financially. We read that there’s been a decrease in sales tax revenue and this will make it worse. We came here in December 1992 from Illinois, and the tax here was around 6.25 percent. The Missouri base tax rate is 4.225 percent.

The City of Belton along with Cass County had increased over double the state’s rate. Most Missouri city’s tax rates average from 6.5 to 7.5.

Regarding E911 sales tax, only 14 percent of votes cast in April 2012. Consider this as voters’ apathy. Only 51.1 percent voted “yes.” We voted against it as the cell phones are to be included besides the landlines, not as retail sales tax.

I researched a few cities in Illinois with 20,000 to 32,000 populations who have big box stores and major chains. Their sales tax rates are 7.5 to 7.75. One city had nothing at all till 18years ago – now it’s all built up and developed, and the population has tripled. Illinois base tax rate is 6.25.

Regarding I-70, there may be a 1 percent sales tax increase, a gas tax increase or a toll road. We believe I-70 should have taken priority over making Route 71 into I-49 which was a waste of money as its mainly metropolitan area traffic to south of Harrisonville then lightens up to about 15 miles north of Arkansas. Building extra cross road bridges/overpasses in small towns with little activity was a waste of money.

There’s a lack of coverage concerning the city of Belton in three local newspapers. Raymore and Peculiar does much better.

Mary Ann Olsen




Dear Editor:

The second amendment, as with all our amendments, is not absolute. You cannot own hand grenades, rocket launchers or machine guns because of their ability to harm large groups of people. It is a safety issue. After the mass murder at Sandy Hook we are finally talking about what can be done to make our ownership of guns safer without interfering with our rights. The reasons for the mass murders we have in the country are varied and we will not be able to stop them 100 percent. However, we can take common sense measures to lessen their severity and occurrences.

Background checks are one way to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental problems and histories of violence. Forty percent of guns sold at gun shows do not go through background checks. Correcting this loophole would help and has an overwhelming 80 percent support by the public. Banning assault-type weapons and kits that turn many guns into assault weapons would also help. With magazines that hold up to 100 rounds you can virtually make many guns as deadly as machine guns.

The NRA is opposed to these measures, of course. Their purpose is not to protect people and children, but to sell guns. Just looking at their board of directors tells the true story. All the largest gun manufactures sit on the board and donate millions of dollars yearly to make sure they can keep selling guns of all types. They preach that the government is trying to take all your guns away and that simply isn’t true. They do this because fear is very motivational and sells more guns. Even so, a large majority of their members support these gun safety measures.

If these measures, plus others to address mental illness and our culture of violence had been in place Sandy Hook would have looked very different. If the young man had received medical attention and if his mother had only been able to buy guns that held only ten rounds what a difference it would have made. It might not have stopped his behavior, but it would have lessened its impact. It’s about safety and saving lives, nothing more.

Pam Scrudder

Pleasant Hill



Dear Editor:

I would never want to work for a company whose owners used their own personal religious agenda to dictate what benefits I was entitled. It is prejudicial, incredibly rigid, and certainly archaic in the face of our ever growing diverse population.

My employer, who has an affiliation with the Episcopal church, requires us to participate in programs each year to assure that all employees receive diversity training. This empowers the organization to ensure that relationships within the work force are harmonious, fair, and productive, regardless of a person’s race, age, disability, or belief system. My company provides excellent health insurance coverage for which we pay a portion. Our employer does not dictate what insurance benefits will be excluded based on the beliefs of its church affiliation. Instead, it embraces the needs of all employees. I’m proud to be part of a corporation who finds it so imperative to encourage everyone to understand that we are all different but we can all get along providing we keep an open mind and learn to tolerate, accept, and most of all, respect our fellow workers.

Limiting the scope of benefits a company offers based on its own personal religious beliefs essentially narrows the scope and diminishes the quality of employees who would want to work for that company. Perhaps that is really the agenda they are seeking.

Ellen Hermance




Dear Editor:

For 10 years women have been fighting heart disease individually and together as part of the Go Red For Women movement. More than 627,000 women’s lives have been saved. But the fight is far from over. This No. 1 killer is still taking the lives of our loved ones and because women we love are dying, and many more are impacted every day.

Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood. Heart disease in women requires more attention, more research and swifter action. With the right information, education and care, heart disease can be treated, prevented and even ended.

As we look toward the 10th Annual National Wear Red Day on Friday, Feb. 1, it’s more important than ever for women to stand side-by-side to end heart disease. It’s time to shout louder, stand stronger and demand change. It’s time for women to Go Red.

Together, we can end heart disease. Join me for the many events going on around the metro this National Wear Red Day, Feb. 1.

Keri Mathew, Go Red Ambassador


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