Tax billing process needs an overhaul

So here we go again. Just got my property tax bill from the city; got the bill from the county a few days ago. These are the only bills I get that force me to go into savings to pay. And I am very lucky to have the savings for this.

Banks allow monthly payments; the IRS takes monthly payments. The city takes monthly payments, but a lot of hoops are required to "get permission." The county has no clue and loses checks. This payment system can and should be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

How many people lose their homes each year because they can't pay their property tax? The tax may be constitutional, but the payment process is a burden to all senior citizens. Shame on both the city and county for just the lazy way they do this.

Steven Smith


Thurman thankfully encouraging reading

Thank you, Rhonda Thurman, for inspiring our children to choose and read these great books. There is nothing like telling a teen that they are too young for the content or there is something "nasty" that they should not know about that incites curiosity in this age group. It also encourages us parents to read the books. Please keep making yourself look stupid by paying attention to ideas like this, and let others on the school board deal with important issues.

Sue Carol Elvin


We're almost free from emissions test

According to the Hamilton County Clerk's website, emissions testing will finally become nothing more or less than an unfortunate memory on Jan. 14, 2022.

According to the county clerk's office, a vehicle owner has the privilege of renewing a vehicle registration online for up to 90 days following the renewal due date. Thereafter, renewal must be in person.

Do the math. If your tag is soon coming up for renewal, based on the information that has been released, it appears a vehicle owner could avoid emissions testing until sunrise on Jan. 14, 2022. Then, tag renewal could be accomplished online, with no forced, face-to-face (mask-to-mask) emissions testing result required.

You might briefly risk a citation for driving on an expired tag, but at least you can choose to skip the forced testing process and the associated forced, face-to-face human exposure during a pandemic.

Thanks to our elected officials for removing this ridiculous, $9 inconvenience from our responsibilities.

Michael Mallen


Buttigieg emblematic of our work ethic

In 1979, as I finished college, I was hired by one of the nation's largest heavy/highway construction companies. Graduation was on Saturday, and I was on the job at 7 a.m. Sunday as a field engineer. Crews worked a minimum of five days per week, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. I moved up the chain of responsibility and became a project superintendent.

It was unusual to take a few days off during the course of a project. When my youngest son was born, I took three days off.

The area manager sent my wife flowers and a card with his note, "Congratulations, but next time schedule it for a weekend."

He was being humorous, but his note also reflected the company's work ethic.

Today our country is facing a supply crisis with ships waiting off the West Coast to be unloaded. As this crisis has grown, our secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, was home on paternity leave since mid-August. Imagine that — two months of paternity leave after six months on the job. This leads me to wonder: How did my wife manage with a newborn child after I returned to work the following Monday?

Thomas Blewett

Signal Mountain


TFP editors should catch biased news

I am used to the collapse of traditional ethics in journalism, but Marta Aldrich's article on Gov. Lee ("Mandates compel Lee to walk election tightrope," page A1) is a new low. It is an editorial posing as news. A news story gives readers information to draw their own conclusions. An editorial tells readers what their conclusions should be.

In her first paragraph, she says, "Letting families opt out of school mask mandates may be bad public health policy, but it could be good politics for Gov. Bill Lee." Actually, there is controversy among physicians on how much good masks do, especially against the contagious delta variant.

Next, she says, "Tennessee's COVID numbers have dropped recently, but the state still nearly leads the nation in cases per capita " The number of cases is influenced by the amount of testing. Deaths per capita is much less subjective. How is Tennessee doing? In the middle, 21st among states, and far better than some states with more aggressive mandates.

Even if Aldrich is too lacking in self-awareness to keep her personal opinions out of a news story — or simply doesn't care about journalistic ethics — the editors at the Times-Free Press should have caught this.

Andy Walker

Signal Mountain


To help fix debt limit, stop spending

Periodically, the USA is faced with increasing the national debt limit. Most politicians, economists and pundits run around with their hair on fire to let us know we must increase the limit or the world will cease. As an analogy, I believe the debt is akin to having a credit card that is almost maxed out. If one tries to make a purchase that exceeds the limit, it will be rejected at the retailer. To buy an item, either a payment has to be made or the card issuer has to increase the limit. Congress is considering increasing its limit.

To say the government will grind to a halt if the debt is not increased seems ludicrous. The government still has billions of dollars pouring in each month. That money still can be used to pay for essential services. This is in essence what happens when Congress fails to pass a budget but continues to operate at the previous budgetary levels (called a continuing resolution). The administration and Congress should stop all their wasteful spending and only fund essential services. Once that is done, only then should consideration be given to increasing the debt limit.

Rusty Lacy

Rossville, Ga.


Intelligence test for Trump fans

The following is a recommended intelligence test for grammar schoolers and many adults:

> The earth is flat. Yes or no.

> The moon is made of cheese. Yes or no.

> The U.S. is an oligarchy. Yes or no.

> Donald Trump won the 2020 election. Yes or no.

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, please seek professional help immediately. Operators are standing by, and many people are sincerely praying for you. Intelligent reflection and a reduced diet of TV news have proven to be most beneficial.

Buell Connell