I cannot agree with Richard Mascolo’s letter printed on Feb. 18. In it, he claims that “Growth is necessary to increase our tax base and keep our taxes low.”
While I can understand that some growth, well managed, can possibly be good, it does not necessarily keep taxes low. If that were the case, then areas like New York or Philadelphia would have the lowest tax rates in the country. Instead, they have some of the highest tax rates. Currently, communities near State College, which are experiencing the most rapid growth, already have higher rates than other regions located farther from town.
A growing community is often a sign of vibrant economic life. But the more a community grows, the more services are required, such as fire, police, traffic control, waste disposal, as well as the maintenance of other necessary segments of the area’s infrastructure. All of these cost money, and once a community reaches a certain population density, costs per person only go up.
For those favoring growth, the claim that growth increases a tax base and keeps taxes low is repeated almost like a mantra, and is often accepted uncritically. I, for one, would rather see growth kept to a more moderate rate, and see the green areas in our community kept green, instead of being developed. Taxes are already high enough, and growth only drives them higher.
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Bruce Knoll, State College