Politician defends bill? Something is fishy 

State Sen. Mark Leno’s smarmy defense of SB 790 spends most of his words in Friday’s op-ed piece [“Claims against CCA bill unfounded”] defending and praising his legislative handiwork with a dismissive, “Keep moving, nothing to see here.”

Indeed, the law was pretty much bilaterally uncontroversial except for that innocuous, enigmatic amendment tacked onto the end about PG&E not billing ratepayers to fund campaigns against public power.

It seems that our state government has been busy with keeping the labor unions and illegal aliens happy at the taxpayer expense. And whenever a politician tells us what to look at and what not to look at, it is time for a much closer look.

Pete Milton, San Francisco

Romney GOP’s best hope

Republicans will need to nominate their most “electable” presidential candidate if they expect to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012. The Republican field appears to have narrowed to a choice between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Two recent national polls both reflect Romney holding a narrow lead over Obama, while Perry trailed the president. Admittedly these two polls are very early measures of support, but both polls also showed Romney more popular than Perry with independent voters critical to victory in November 2012.

Jim Hartman, Berkeley

Tax burden is unequal

In the last several decades the wealth hasn’t been spread so much as concentrated — at the top. The share of total income going to the top 1 percent of income earners more than doubled from 9 percent in 1970 to 23.5 percent in 2007.

And while the rich do pay a greater proportion of their income in taxes, the share of total taxes paid by the richest Americans is commensurate with their share of national wealth.

Examining the total tax burden — state, federal and local — Citizens for Tax Justice calculated that the top 1 percent of households (average income $1.3 million) earned 20.3 percent of income and paid 21.5 percent of taxes in 2010.

The tax code is studded with a costly bevy of deductions and preferences — mortgage interest, employer-sponsored health insurance, retirement savings — that benefit wealthier taxpayers over those with modest incomes.

Ted Rudow III, Palo Alto

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