Municipalities must benefit from natural gas
I believe the burgeoning natural gas drilling industry that is rampant across southwestern Pennsylvania can provide financial aid to municipalities without a cost to local taxpayers.
Natural gas and coal-bed methane are found with great abundance in our commonwealth, making untold riches for wealthy gas companies but remaining virtually tax-free within our borders. Nearly every state taxes natural resources, so implementing such an assessment would not drive the drilling companies to our neighbors. There is precedence for such a tax, as counties, municipalities and school districts were assessing one until 2002 when the state Supreme Court decided the General Assembly had not recognized gas and oil as a taxable interest.
To correct that oversight, I will reintroduce legislation in the state House of Representatives to allow local officials to assess value on natural gas, oil and coal-bed methane. If the tax is implemented on the mining companies (not local property owners), I believe the money should stay in the local area from which it is derived, rather than be sent to the state's coffers, as proposed by Gov. Ed Rendell.
I also remain open to the possibility of a state severance tax on natural gas, but with the caveat that some of the money must be driven back to our local taxing entities. If the state is going to reap the benefits of the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom, our localities and subsequently local taxpayers also must benefit.
STATE REP. BILL DeWEESE
The writer is House majority whip and represents the 50th Legislative District.
Beyond the lights
The city of Pittsburgh is exploring the replacement of 40,000 street lights with new technologies ("City Council Debates Option for Energy-Saving Street Lights," Feb. 10). This will be a significant investment and will cost millions of dollars.
In today's difficult economic times, it is vital that government invest in products and technologies that will create American jobs and restore the economic vitality of our community. I think it is great that council is ready to go green when it comes to municipal lighting. However, it is even more important that our taxpayer dollars support the local, state and national economies whenever possible.
Not a true Iron
As a longtime resident of Pittsburgh, I would like to voice my concern regarding the decision of Iron City Brewing to outsource its canning division ("Iron City Outsources Canned Beer," Jan. 15). This company has been a part of Pittsburgh for too long to let it be taken over piece by piece by someone else.
To me, and many of my friends and family members, if Iron City is not brewed in Pittsburgh, it's not truly Iron City Beer. But my greatest concern is that it will cause the layoffs of people in our own city and support jobs elsewhere -- to me that's just not a 'Burgh thing.
I know the news reports say that a decision is going to be made regarding repair or purchase of new equipment. Whatever that decision may be, I hope that it is done in a timely fashion, so that the city's own can go back to their jobs and then we can resume purchasing true Iron City products.
PNC was no pig
I read the papers or watch the local news and there is outrage because PNC executives traveled to the Super Bowl in a private jet after taking Troubled Asset Relief Program money. First off, the only reason PNC took TARP money was the shotgun wedding to National City. From what I understand PNC did not participate in the subprime pigout.
PNC was an excellent custodian of depositors' money and had an outstanding balance sheet. Like the Steelers, PNC has a habit of doing things the right way. Like the Steelers, PNC comes out on top, while the Cleveland bank, National City, goes out of business. Instead of beating up PNC Bank, the media should be celebrating its success.
Absurd PNC policy
I'm writing in response to PNC's use of a corporate jet for its chief executive officer to attend the Steelers' Super Bowl game. While he should be able to attend like any fan, having everyone -- both PNC customers and all taxpayers (through the bailout) -- pay for it due to "security" is laughable.
Many high-profile companies send their executives on commercial flights.
War is spending
It is amazing how many knee-jerk conservatives in both the Post-Gazette letters to the editor and the PG's Open Letters blog claim that tax reduction stimulus plans are the only things that have been successful in reviving the economy in the past. They invariably cite the failure of FDR's spending and make-work projects during his first two terms, and then, in the next breath, they incomprehensibly claim that our entrance into World War II was the only thing that brought the country out of the Great Depression.
Huh? What do they think World War II was, if not a gigantic government spending project with no tax-cut stimulus?
And don't they understand that the "guns and butter" spending and tax cuts during both the Vietnam and Iraq wars is what helped precipitate the current economic crisis and also the severe stagflation of the late 1970s? President Carter had his share of faults, but, like President Obama, he inherited the consequences of a highly questionable war of choice initiated on false premises and fought on the ridiculous notion that people at home did not have to make economic sacrifices.
I got a chuckle upon reading the letter "Headline Fumble" (Feb. 9) from someone who felt the need to criticize the Post-Gazette's choice of words in the recent headline "Jubilant City Girds for a Six-Burgh Salute." The letter writer states, "Gird ... is used correctly, but would have been more apropos prior to the Super Bowl."
I just wanted to point out the writer's questionable use of the word apropos. "Apropos" roughly translates to "in regard to," or "relating to what was just said." While its use as an adjective has become widespread (to the point of being acceptable), it is not intended to be a substitute for the word appropriate, which the Feb. 9 letter writer (and many others) seem to believe.
The above situation is an example of the word "irony," and you can look that up!
George Will's factual meltdown
I regularly read George F. Will's columns even though he often refuses to let a few facts spoil his right-wing opinions. In a recent column published by the PG on Feb. 16 ("Hypothetical Calamity") he claimed that global sea ice levels are as extensive as in 1979 as supported by the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center.
Unfortunately, those pesky facts are getting in Mr. Will's way. The center posted this on its Web site in response to Mr. Will's allegation:
"In an opinion piece by George Will published on February 15, 2009, in The Washington Post, George Will states 'According to the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.'
"We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979. This decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California and Oklahoma combined."
When will the conservative icon issue his correction?
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