Eliminating the medical expense deduction would hurt seniors

My wife and I have heard stated that “itemized deductions” are to be reviewed/revised/eliminated. Mortgage expenses and charitable donations are to remain “untouched.” No such assurances have been mentioned pertaining to medical expenses, property taxes or state and local income and sales taxes.

I am a retired federal employee. Looking at 2016 shows that approximately 32 percent of my federal annuity, which I paid into for 30 years, went to pay for Medicare, health insurance, medical and dental expenses, prescriptions and long-term care insurance policies. During 2016, property taxes ate up an additional 4 percent of my federal annuity. During 2016 state and local sales taxes consumed an additional 5 percent of my federal annuity. Added together medical expenses, property taxes and sales taxes constituted 41 percent of my federal annuity. We file long form which provides some tax relief at the federal level and entitles us to an adjustment to Missouri state income tax levied on civil service pensions and social security payments.

Will the proposed adjustment to the “Standard Exemption” give my wife and I the $4,000 savings being promised under current proposed changes to the federal income tax system? I really doubt it. We will lose again.

I spent most of my career paying off my home mortgage, only to have that financial drain replaced by medical expenses. I believe that, if the medical expenses deduction is removed from the tax code, it will greatly impact us seniors (could this be construed to be discrimination on the basis of age?)

My wife and I strongly oppose the elimination of the medical expense deduction from the tax code due to the financial burden it would place on those senior citizens that have paid off their home loans.

Eric Bahl, Independence


Dourson is wrong choice for EPA office, children of Independence

Independence has dealt with a long legacy of pollution from the Lake City Army Ammunition plant – where decades of industrial manufacturing have caused toxic contamination of groundwater and soil.

This is why I was extremely concerned to learn about President Trump's nomination of Michael Dourson to lead the Environmental Protection Agency toxics office. Dourson built his career being paid by chemical companies (and earlier by Big Tobacco) to downplay the health impacts of toxic chemicals and secure weaker standards for chemicals.

Dourson even argued for a less health-protective standard for one of the chemicals that has plagued our community – perchlorate – a component of rocket fuel that is known to affect brain development in children. Residents of Independence know what it is like to live in fear of contaminated water and hazardous pollution. To protect families in Eastern Jackson County – and communities across the country – we need a strong regulator we can trust at the EPA who is not in the pocket of the chemical industry. The U.S. Senate must stand up for the health of all communities and reject Michael Dourson.

Scott Burnett, Jackson County Legislator