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Letters to the Editor 10/6/22


Reader believes student loan forgiveness is a good policy

Dear Editor:
Don, I read with interest your (Sept. 15) piece on student debt forgiveness. To me, it is not a bad policy to benefit a segment of the population who were burdened with exorbitant college tuition and fees and who have a high potential for contributing to the future of this country and its economy.
It is a far superior policy to the previous administration that was intent on benefitting the wealthy and already privileged. I am sure your piece played well to this community. Also, you should be proud of your achievements in putting yourself through school. However, that is irrelevant to the issue.
New laws never go back and take care of all the folks in the past who were in similar situations or who cannot take advantage of the new law. The problem with so many arguments these days is that we fail to take the broader view and tend to consider only ourselves and our very small communities.
Thanks for publishing this paper and helping folks think about issues.
Paul Stern
Keystone Heights

Reader: Forgiving student loan debt sends wrong message

Dear Editor:

I wanted to take the time to formally acknowledge and commend you for your honest and frank thoughts on the recent student loan forgiveness passage, and our responsibility to use our voting power for policies that reflect our own true values and opinions.
I was opposed to the forgiveness package for several reasons. I am a college graduate and accepted loans to help cover education costs and ongoing living expenses. I signed the promissory note with the full intention of repaying the loan and expected that I owed the responsibility to do so. I purposely chose a degree and career path that would allow me the funds to repay my loans, and when I did enter the workforce, I worked very hard to pay off my loans.
Of course, the interest grew the balance quickly but that’s what the lender gets for taking the risk on me and my future. I remember being upset one day about the interest accruing on my student loans and the large balance I owed which seemed too big to tackle. Then my daughter, of college age herself, said, “Mom, that’s what made your career, your business, and your success possible … It’s the price to pay for a better life, all your life.”
It was at that moment that I decided to pay extra payments every month until one day, I paid my final payment and celebrated with immense joy (and relief). I had sacrificed other spending to honor the commitment I made to someone who gave me the chance to pursue my dreams. I had made responsible choices, and sometimes sacrifices, to honor my promise and commitments. It was the right thing to do!
I thought your ideas to give people with student loans options to “work off” some of those balances with “credits,” to make a difference, was ingenious. An architect that volunteers with Habitat for Humanity; a business graduate teaching community classes to young people on budgeting and finances; a doctor or lawyer volunteering at community clinics.. These ideas serve many purposes in a positive and impactful way. Not just writing off debt for others to pay for years in the future, all with the stroke of a pen.
It’s a fact that about 96% of our federal budget is funded by tax revenue. As a CPA, I understand how significantly this forgiveness will affect our tax code and the student loan debt which we will all have to pay for years to come. I did not expect my neighbors, friends, family, or adult children, to pay my student loans, much less strangers that don’t know me and didn’t agree to be responsible for repaying the money that I received. What a ridiculous notion! But that brings me to my second point – the title of your article. If we don’t want preposterous and ridiculous notions created in an administration that handles our current and future economy recklessly, we must vote responsibly and not be reckless with this precious power we hold. As we have seen with recent political races which can be just a few votes different to decide a final candidate – One vote DOES matter. And we shouldn’t just vote, but vote educated!
Research the candidates on the ballot; their background; their ability; the positions they take on issues; their voting record; and their “promises.” We should not just vote for the candidate that we are most familiar with because we have heard and seen their names the most through advertising. Our country is at a critical “fork in the road” and November 6th will determine if we feast or famine!
Thank you, again, for the enlightening and courageous thoughts you share with your readers. It is refreshing to see someone speaking out for what is right and just for our community, our country, our families, and our future. Please continue the fight for common sense and Freedom of Speech to do so!
Susan (Carter) Hess
Fleming Island

Reader questions cost of living increases for commissioners; low salaries for first responders

Dear Editor:
On next month’s ballot, Nov. 8, there is a Proposed County Charter Amendment for an automatic annual Cost of Living increase in salaries for the Clay County Commissioners.
Please remember that these are part-time jobs and pay $37,000 a year. Yet, on the Board of County Commissioners' website, they are advertising a full-time position as a first responder for an annual salary of $42,000. Specifically, a Firefighter/EMT & Firefighter/Paramedic with expectations of maintaining all state certifications. Firefighters voluntarily place themselves in harm’s way, putting their lives on the line every day.
I am sure that each of our Commissioners is a hardworking, dedicated public servant with a focus on doing what is best for all of us here in Clay County. That said, I am equally sure that every family in Clay County has had to make budget adjustments based on the soaring rate of inflation, and all without the benefit of a guaranteed annual cost of living raise.
Thank you,
Lucy Ann Hoover
Green Cove Springs