During a week when the House voted to end the estate tax (and a month after eliminating the dividend tax), Republicans are closing ranks to ensure the Veteran’s Disability Tax stays in place. The Veteran’s Disability Tax works like this: Military retirees who are disabled because of service connected injuries or illnesses pay the Veterans Disability Tax. For every dollar they receive from the VA for their service-connected disability, they must forfeit a dollar of their retirement pay. Year after year, Congress has introduced HR 303 and S.392, legislation that would correct this unfair and unjust practice. The measures enjoy a supposedly overwhelming support from legislators. Last year 90 percent of the House and 80 percent of the Senate were Co-Sponsors of these legislative initiatives. Unfortunately, year after year, these bills die in committee. This year, Rep. James Marshall, D. GA, 3rd Dist., introduced a discharge petition to bring HR 303 to a vote. House Republican leadership has directed Republicans not to sign the petition. So far, it seems to be working’only one Republican has signed. Not even the bill’s author, Tampa Bay’s own Rep. Mike Bilirakis R. FL, 9th Dist., is willing to sign because of party pressures. Speaker of the House J. Denis Hastert (who never served in the military), is sending strong messages to the Republican rank and file that anyone who signs Rep. Marshall’s discharge petition will suffer. It seems as though the Republicans want to make sure the rich do not have to pay taxes on their dividends or vast estates, but that disabled veterans need to continue to pay taxes on their disabilities. Sincerely, John R Hunter, Lampasas, Tex.