Financial implications

Dear Editor:

Republicans have rammed through a tax package opposed by every Democrat in Congress. Less than 25 percent of Americans thought it a good idea. What does it mean for ordinary people, compared to billionaires? Forbes magazine estimated potential tax reductions for our most famous billionaire – President Trump – based on leaked information from his 2005 taxes (the only information available). They report President Trump may receive an annual tax break of $11 million – or more than $30,000 a day – much of which is permanent.

According to the New York Times, households with incomes between $25,000 and $75,000 will see average tax reductions something like $2.14 a day ($780 a year). Within a couple of years, increases to health insurance premiums caused by the Republicans’ intentional destabilization of insurance markets are likely to devour that windfall. Ten years from now those tax cuts expire and we will be paying more taxes than ever.

How will these tax breaks for the wealthy be paid for? Increasing the deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars means that in 10 years each of us will “own” over $4,500 more in federal debt. Households of three will owe almost $14,000 more in federal debt. Over the next decade, the estimated tax break for President Trump’s household of three is about 780,000 percent greater than its share of the increased national debt, whereas the $780 a year tax cut represents about 56 percent of the increased debt for a family of three.

On his website, our Representative Newhouse proudly announces voting for this bill, without referring to the debt increase. I thought he was a deficit hawk! Under “Issues,” on his Budget/Fiscal Responsibility page, he says, “Congress must take steps to balance the budget and eliminate our debt over the long term, which is why I support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.” Guess he meant while there was a Democratic president.

It is time to require candidates for federal office to make their tax returns public. We should know how the elected officials responsible for the tax bill are financially affected. Representative Newhouse, how about sponsoring legislation?

Gina McCoy, Winthrop

Great Christmas dinner

Dear Editor:

Just wanted to let you and your readers know that our Christmas dinner at the Winthrop Barn was a big success! Around 25 volunteers served more than 200 people who had the time and space to meet with friends, make some new friends and enjoy a delicious and leisurely meal. We were also honored to have some terrific music courtesy of Emile Clothier and friends. A good time was had by all and we are hoping to include even more of our community next year.

We sent two turkeys to Jamie’s Place and the contents of our very generous donation jar will be distributed to local charities. Several of the volunteers do not belong to our Snowmobile Association nor do they even snowmobile. They just believe in what we are doing. We thank them. Many local merchants donated turkeys, bread and desserts. Several community members (some snowmobilers and some not) donated turkeys, munchies, vegetable dishes and decorations. We thank them also. Also, thanks to the Methow Valley News for publicizing this event.

Christine Holm, Methow Valley Snowmobile Association

Methow At Home cutting fees

Dear Editor:

Methow At Home, a young valley nonprofit, focused on supporting our members as they age in place, has reduced its membership fees for 2018. Current members and the generosity of our community through donations have made this possible. This fee reduction is part of continuing efforts to have Methow At Home services available to all in our community who can benefit from them. Grants for membership remain available, though accepting a grant has been a barrier for some to joining Methow At Home. The Methow At Home goal is truly to serve everyone in the Valley who would like to participate.

Methow At Home was started as a membership-driven organization. The intent was to operate without relying on the community at large to provide support for yet another organization. Now, after completing two years of very successful operation, Methow At Home has found itself the recipient of many generous contributions from this amazing community. This generosity has been pivotal in allowing for a fee reduction so early in our history.

Further, this outpouring of community support has encouraged us to consider how to expand Methow At Home services, so that we might improve the depth and breadth of support for aging in place in the Methow.

Community input, involvement, and contributions in all forms will be essential to furthering Methow At Home’s vision for supporting aging in place in the Methow Valley.

We are deeply grateful to our members, volunteers and donors for making this possible.

Betsy Weiss, President, Methow At Home

Gratitude for Nordic program

Dear Editor:

As one of the many wonderful, far-reaching opportunities available for youth in our valley, our local Nordic ski program has provided avenues for countless athletes to challenge themselves and aspire to achieve personal and competitive goals. Your recent article about Sadie and Erik Bjornsen and their return to the Olympics stage is a great example of the program’s prowess. I would like to elaborate briefly on what was written.

In addition to Leslie Hall and Laura McCabe’s long-standing commitment of coaching and support for our program, several other head coaches and program directors lent significant years and experience to our athletes. During their tenure on the junior team both Sadie and Erik benefited overwhelmingly from the duo of Scott Johnston and Chris “Flash” Clark, who co-led the program from 2003 until 2008 and supported countless athletes to great heights and improvements in their skiing.

Following Sadie’s, and soon after Erik’s graduation from high school, Scott saw a need to support them (and myself, as luck would have it) in the transition to international racing and vying for national team berths. Scott’s energy was tireless, his commitment unrivaled, and his contribution voluntary and without monetary recompense. Day-in and day-out we would train around the valley under his guidance, and through the winter he single-handedly led and coached us through several different European racing trips so that we could gain crucial international experience. Scott’s generosity and total commitment to us bridged a divide from the junior and collegiate skiing world we were familiar with, and gave us the tools and support to reach the next level in our racing. For Sadie and Erik, that level is now as podium contenders at the upcoming Olympic Games next month.

Long after Sadie and Erik moved onto the national team, Scott continued to lend guidance to local young skiers, never hesitating to help when called upon. I speak for myself as a recipient over many years of Scott’s tutelage, generosity and friendship, and I speak as a teammate and observer of Sadie and Erik’s success, to say thank you to him for giving so much to the valley’s young skiers and athletes.

Sam Naney, Mazama