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Lewes, Delaware
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June 24, 2008     Cape Gazette
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June 24, 2008

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6 TUESDAY, JUNE 24- THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2008 p Letters )) Proposed hospital tax is very bad medicine The Minner Administration, the ]oint Finance Committee and the General Assembly are about , to embark upon questionable public policy in the name ofbal- ancing the state's budget. And, it will be done on the backs of Delaware's nonprofit community hospitals in the form of a tax. Our state leadership has come up with a concept of creating a tax that will strap our hospitals with another financial burden. Our nonprofit hospitals care for the citizens of our communities regardless of their financial status. In fact, in a 2007 report released by the Delaware Healthcare Asso- ciation, Delaware's nonprofit hos- pitals contributed a total of $283,896,908 in fiscal year 2006 toward free and subsidized healthcare and community bene- fit programs aimed at fostering a healthier citizenry. Of that total, the amount of free healthcare pro- vided to those unable to pay was $72,069391 while the subsidy rep- resenting the unpaid cost of gov- ernment-sponsored healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid and other government-related programs) to- taled $138,181,657. In addition, Delaware's hospitals spent $73,645,860 on community benefit programs designed to create healthier lives among the state's residents. It appears that our General AS- sembly will consider an option to tax one of the few remaining strong elements of our fragile state and national economy with a 2.9 percent tax on hospital rev- enues. Why? How will these tax revenues be used? No clear an- swers have been given. The state projects that this tax will raise, (or should one say raid) nearly 55 mil- lion dollars from our hospitals. With Delaware's growing and ag- ing population that carries with it an increasing demand for health- care services, hospitals are al- ready overwhelmed as it is. Now our hospitals could face a tax bur- den that even Secretary of Health Vince Meconl isn't sure if the fed- eral government will even allow. Secretary Meconi claims that the hospital tax will be used to ob- tain additional Medicaid money from the federal government. In fact, he contends the additional federal money will be enough to provide $15 million to the state budget, and repay the hospitals. In his plan, that "repayment" will occur by giving the money to the insurance companies. This is but one more attempt by government to try to obtain tax revenue from nonprofit tax-ex- empt community organizations. This is an incredible concept giv- en we live in a state with no sales tax, but our leaders in Dover stand ready to tax our community hospitals. Delawareans should contact Continued on page 7 ( Viewpoints We!re here for Gov Minner's last "White Sneaker Ind for Inland Bay,." dreaded /!rst a sudden torential doi '!_ with lots of runoffi " '1!ii FISHKILL!!! Editorial )) Unregulated signs pollute viewscape ussex County Council is revising its sign ordinance just as it's also moving toward adopting an updated compre- hensive development plan. Like so many issues in the Cape Region, signs and the ordinances regulating them are controversial. Route 1 from Five Points to south of Dewey Beach is almost entirely com- mercial; business owners want to be noticed, and many have invested in signs designed to draw attention to their locations - even in signs that are illegal under existing regulations. This corridor is also the gateway to our beaches and Inland Bays. Everyone who's try- ing to reach the beach travels this stretch of road and must now run a 6-mile gauntlet of billboards and lighted and electronic signs. The proliferation of signs can be expected when sign ordinances are weak or not en- forced, because businesses compete to install ever more eye-catching signs to capture atten- tion and draw in customers. But this commer- cialization is flooding our most-traveled high- way with a sea of visual blight. The signs are piled one next to another, so even when travel- ers know what to look for, it's increasingly diffi- cult to find. Towns, including Rehoboth Beach and Lewes, have taken steps to carefully limit signs. Yet on highways and byways across the country and around the world, signs are prolif- erating. As the council moves forward with a new ordinance, it is imperative to envision what We as eitizens want the Route I corridor to look like. Do we want a Las Vegas-style land- scape of bright lights? Is there nothing in our landscape or in the highway viewscape that we believe is worth preserving? Businesses are entitled to signs announcing their location. But these signs should be tightly restricted, and the limitations should be vigor- ously enforced so businesses don't compete to exceed the regulations. Moving signs of any kind are an unnecessary distraction on a heavi- ly traveled and inherently hazardous roadway. As a message from the organization Scenic America puts it, commercial activity is central to our economy, but does that mean we all have to live inside a giant commercial? The organi- zation also likes to say, "Change is inevitable; ugliness is not." Cape Gazette editorials am considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Fomey, publisher, Trish Vernon, editor, Kerry Kester, associate editor; Dae Frederick, sports editor; Laura Ritter, news editor; and Jen Ellingsworth, arts and entertainment editor. Weather picture )) RON MACARTHUR PHOTO A LONE WATER LILY basks in the rays O f a hot early summer sun in a pond out- side of Rehoboth Beach.  For local weather, including highs and lows see page 51. Web poll )) Readers in deat heat for presidential choice Your choice? John McCain 46% Barack Obama 46% Other . 9/ The total votes counted were 243. To par- ticipate in the current web poll, visit Cape Gazette Cape Gazette Volume 16 No. 10 Publisher, Dennis Forney, Ext. 303 Editor, Trish Vernon, Ext. 315 Office Mgr., Kathy Emery, Ext. 305 Assoc: Editor, Kerry Kester, Ext. 317 kester Sports Editor, Dave Frederick, Ext. 304 News Editor, Laura Ritter, Ext. 350 A&E Editor, Jen Ellingsworth, Ext. 319 NEWS Steve Hoenigmann,. Ext. 321 Henry Evans, Ext. 336 Ron Mar, Arthur, Ext. 318 Georgia Leonhart " I Ryan Mavity, Ext. 337 Kevin Spence, Ext. 339 Leah Hoenen, Ext. 338 Janet Andrelczyk, EXt. 316 Edit. Assist., Bernadette Hearn, Ext. 316 SPORTS WRITERS Tim Bamforth tim@seashorestridercom Frederick 5chranck CONTRIBUTORS Susan Frederick Nancy Katz Diane Alhanese Eric Burnley Chris Antoriio WEBMASTER Catherine M. Tanze PHOTO PRODUCTION Molly Wingate, Ext. 308 PHOTOGRAPHERS Dan Cook Steven 8illups PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Norma Parks, Ext. 309 CLASSIFIED Sandy Barr, EXt. 300 Kim McPike, Ext. 310 Jean Sarro, Ext. 302 jeans@capegazette.corn ADVERTISING Cindy Bowlin, Ext. 307 Sharon Hudson, Ext. 306 Amanda Neafie, Ext. 311 Chris Rausch, Ext. 312 Steve Lhotsky, Ext. 313 PRODUCTION STAFF Chris Wildt Teresa Rodriguez Ron Winterstein Kristin Cornell Edwin Krumm Meredith Shockley Betsy Hopler RECEPTIONISTS Kandy Vicary Barb McPike CIRCULATION JoNi Weber Glenn Vernon Email for news, letters:" Entail for advertising:. Email to subscribe: Email for web: web@capegazette.corn About Cape Gazette:. The Cape Gazette (USPS 010294) is published by Cape Gazette Ltd. every Tues. and Friday at 17585 Nassau Commons Blvd., Lewes, DE 19958. Periodicals postage paid at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Subscriptions are available at $30 per year in Sussex County =, $50 elsewhere. Address all correspondence to Cape Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958 Telephone: 302-645-7700 FAX: 302-645-1664 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, RO. Box 213 Lewes, DE 19958