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Thoughts on the alcohol tax, climate change, and more: letters to the editor

How a tax could make the borough millions

The first part of the Centre Daily Times series "The Cost of Alcohol," what a poured drink tax could do to benefit the borough.
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The first part of the Centre Daily Times series "The Cost of Alcohol," what a poured drink tax could do to benefit the borough.

‘A necessity’

My compliments to CDT reporters Sarah Rafacz and Lauren Muthler for their series of reports on alcohol-related crimes in the State College area and the need for broader taxing authority to pay for the necessary police, emergency, and other services. Bill Mahon’s OpEd on this subject is also praiseworthy.

As stated in Mr. Mahon’s OpEd, authority to tax alcohol both for retail sales and for poured liquor is a necessity for State College Borough and should be given to all Centre Region municipalities. It is by far the fairest tax discussed in the CDT articles and certainly fairer than what we are forced to do now; fund these services using property taxes and earned income taxes.

Several citizens have recommended an alcohol tax to me while I was on Borough Council. Many Borough officials -- including Mayor Hahn and former Mayor Goreham, Borough Manager Tom Fountaine, the last three Council Presidents, myself, and several other Council members --- have spoken to state legislators about granting State College broader taxing authority. Unfortunately, even though Philadelphia and Allegheny County already levy alcohol taxes, the Commonwealth legislature is unlikely to grant us any broader taxing authority.

As a community, we know that an alcohol tax would allow for State College-area municipalities to provide resources necessary to deal with alcohol-related incidents in this area and could yield property tax relief; Harrisburg needs to give us the authority to levy one. - Jesse L. Barlow, State College, PA

‘More in common?’

President Trump has a picture hanging in the White House that has a much slimmer Trump seated at a table surrounded by past Republican Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes. I assume the message he is trying to convey is that he belongs among these individuals.

In light of Trump’s statements and actions these past two years It strikes me a more appropriate picture would be of President Trump surrounded by Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Rodrigo Duterte (Phillipines), Xi Jinping (China), Recep Erdogan (Turkey), Bashar al-Assad (Syria) and the Saudi Crown Prince. I believe he has more in common with this latter group of individuals than he does with past Republican Presidents. - John Casey, State College, PA

‘Taking action on climate change’

I urge Centre County’s Congressional representatives, Tom Marino and Glenn Thompson, to support the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018.” This bipartisan legislation ... puts a fee of $15 per ton on carbon dioxide emissions from coal, oil, and gas. The fee grows over time at $10 per ton per year. It will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies, industries, and consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options.

The money collected from the carbon fee goes — as a dividend — in equal shares every month to the American people to spend as they see fit. This is a revenue-neutral plan. The government does not keep any of the money from the carbon fee. This policy will reduce America’s CO2 emissions by 33 percent within 10 years. It will improve health and save lives.

Additionally, the carbon dividend puts money directly into people’s pockets every month, helping low- and middle-income Americans who comprise the majority of voters in Mr. Marino’s and Mr. Thompson’s districts. It will create 2.1 million additional jobs over the next 10 years, thanks to growth in the clean energy economy.

Most Americans support Congress taking action on climate change, including more than half of Republican millennial voters. Solving climate change is too urgent to get caught up in partisan politics. Special thanks goes to Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick for co-sponsoring this bill. - Richard W. Jones, State College, PA

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