Kudos to Sen. Jake Corman, who in a Jan. 8 CDT column cited the Pennsylvania legislature’s need to address budget deficits by taking steps to reduce risk to taxpayers.
State budget concerns are mirrored at the local level, where the State College borough also needs to take steps to avoid increasing local taxpayer burdens. However, for this to occur, the legislature must grant State College and comparable municipalities authority for taxing self-determination.
Currently, the borough must rely on residents’ real estate and earned income taxes to generate necessary revenue, much of which is spent accommodating and protecting community visitors and students. Taxing self-determination would allow the borough council to spread the tax burden beyond residents with, for example, a poured drink tax.
The legislature has granted such taxing authority in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas, but to date has not recognized other communities’ need for that option.
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State College’s request for taxing self-determination has been raised in meetings with our legislators, borough administrators and elected officials, and borough residents. To date, Harrisburg has not responded.
The State College Coalition of Neighborhood Associations strongly urges Corman and his legislative colleagues to enable the borough to avoid predicted substantial property tax increases by granting home rule municipalities, including State College, taxing self-determination authority.
Donna S. Queeney, State College
The writer is the coordinator of the State College Coalition of Neighborhood Associations.