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EDITORIAL ON PERKS MISSED MARK

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Everyone wants better government, but your editorial on congressional perks ("Tighten Congress' belt, too," Dec. 6), leaves me wanting better editorials in my local newspaper.

You cite as examples of "lavish self-indulgence" items that not only are commonplace in the private sector but in fact save taxpayer dollars. Free stamps: Does any private corporation ask its employees to pay for business mail? Free parking: Would we prefer to reimburse lawmakers and their staff for taxis across Washington, or into Virginia for the Pentagon or National Airport? Besides, your editorial completely ignores the fact that, as of this year, congressional staff are expected to report free parking as income when filing tax returns.You also cite a "publicly financed stationery store." Not true. In fact, Speaker Tom Foley, demonized in Utah and across the country, reformed the store earlier this year. Items are priced in accordance with the market.

Sure, Congress can tighten its belt. Lawmakers' pensions are too high, and few citizens want more junk mail from their representatives in an election year. But by trumpeting absurd allegations, your editorial adds little to a substantive debate on congressional reform. Stop giving us radio talk show arguments, start giving us the facts, and we'll demand real change each and every election year.

J.D. Jefferson

Provo