Judging from the fair this year, our new director should run for Congress. Perfect fit. — Dan Welty, Sams Valley

I am writing concerning the intended expansion of the Mount Ashland ski area.

This proposal comes at a great sacrifice to all Oregon citizens when only a minor part of the population can even enjoy this luxury. It is not necessary.

As an Oregon resident, I don't want it! I would rather have cleaner water, fewer roads and the continued preservation of the unique plant and animal species that live there. — Christine Yee, Ashland

If our country ends up in default, I suggest the first item on the list of items that won't be paid to be the salaries of all members of Congress, along with their staffs, expense accounts and benefits. — W. Story, Eagle Point

America is at a critical juncture regarding its federal tax policies and debt crisis. If we continue as is, we'll someday default on our debt. If this occurs, America's economic status will suffer.

A serious tax issue is the fact that we're receiving less revenue than previously from major corporations. This is because some major corporations take advantage of a tax code that's full of ingenious loopholes. These loopholes allow them to pay incredibly low rates.

Revenue lost through tax avoidance creates serious problems. Obviously, taxes paid only by individuals, smaller corporations and small businesses aren't enough to balance America's budget.

Sadly, it's hard for some to talk about corporate tax reform without calling all corporations corrupt. This is unfortunate. Though increasingly rare, many corporations respectfully pay taxes completely.

What would work best to increase corporate tax revenue is to eliminate for good the most extravagant tax loopholes. Even if loophole closing were combined with lowering corporate rates to 25 percent, tax revenue could still rise due to improved compliance.

If we don't look at tax reform now, America's tax bill may continue to fall even more on our small businesses and average citizens. Is this really what we want? — Perry Casilio, Talent

Expanding the Mount Ashland ski area is at best a short-sighted venture that has much more to do with lining the pockets of a few well-to-do backers than it does in preserving our extremely delicate watershed. It's a classic example of the fox guarding the hen house.

Even if the watershed were not in jeopardy, and it surely would be, expanding the ski area in our current economic environment, exacerbated by increasingly drier winters, would make expansion a major crap shoot at best. But putting our watershed at risk at the same time is ostrich-in-the-sand thinking that no Ashlander who is actually aware of its environmental impact could possibly support. — David Lorenz Winston, Talent

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