Letters to the editor
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When I read that the president of an oil and gas industry association opposes the proposed severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas, I was hardly surprised ("Pennsylvania House Panel Suggests 'Highest Shale Tax in U.S.,' " Sept. 28). "Lobbyist opposes more taxes on industry" is a story that pretty much writes itself.
But when Louis D'Amico, the president of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, asserted that a severance tax would drive the gas industry to other states with more favorable regulatory climates, I was a bit taken aback. Some businesses surely react to tax and regulatory incentives, but extractive enterprises would seem more beholden to where natural resources can be found. Mr. D'Amico's threat that the gas industry will leave Pennsylvania for lower-tax jurisdictions rings hollow.
The levy of 39 cents per thousand cubic feet would go to remediate the environmental degradation occasioned by drilling and shore up the budgets of towns whose infrastructure will be strained by a sudden influx of trucks and workers. If this requirement that industry pay for the burdens it imposes on others dissuades companies from drilling in Pennsylvania, that is a "feature," not a "bug."
They don't pay us
I would hope that people who complain that tax cuts and capitalism result in deficits would give some thought to that complaint. We have incurred these deficits by spending money on various programs before we actually have the money, in the hopes that when we collect taxes, those taxes will provide the needed funds.
It's like going into a restaurant with $10 and ordering a $30 entree, hoping that while you're eating, someone you know will come into the place and be willing to lend you the needed money.
We continue to hear members of Congress say "we can't afford tax cuts!" As if they, the dunces who make up the Congress, are responsible for the paycheck you receive. They don't have any money to afford in the first place ... it's your money that they are spending recklessly.
Capitalism allows money to be returned on money invested, either as a shareholder or a business person. Profits, which are not evil, allow larger paychecks and additional hiring and improvements in the workplace. In most cases, businesses that are successful and long-lived have reinvested in their workers and workplaces. Those that do not, shut down.
Let's understand that the people we elect do not provide us with our freedom or our jobs. They are supposed to work for us. Now that's a good example of deficit spending.
Corbett's for the haves
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett supports a lawsuit to overturn the federal health care law, which would hurt small businesses and young people. He wants to cut education funding. He wants to deduct money from workers' paychecks and reduce the amount of unemployment checks rather than increase taxes on businesses to repay federal money. He blames the unemployed for their plight and has stated they are just "sitting there."
It is economically unwise not to invest in people's health, not to invest in education and not to protect the disadvantaged, because society will pay for it in the long run.
In November, Pennsylvanians need to vote for Democrat Dan Onorato for governor, not for Tom Corbett, who represents the party that caused the economic crisis and whose only concern is for the wealthy elite, or as George W. Bush called them, "the haves and the have-mores."
Folksy and clever
When I first saw Dan Onorato's ad where he holds up a big card with his name printed on it while telling viewers how to pronounce his last name, I thought to myself -- now that's a stroke of genius. He is using a few of the most basic memorization techniques, which are known to be very effective. If anyone wants to remember a word or phrase, you first look at it for a moment, then you pronounce it aloud. Mr. Onorato takes it a step further by holding it under his face.
Some have made fun of this ad. The PG's Timothy McNulty referred to it as "the dorkiest ad running across the state" while admitting that it "could be the one with the biggest impact" ("Ad Helps Onorato Close Gap on Corbett," Sept. 30). I think it will be.
Many people will vote along party lines and some according to issues. However, don't underestimate name and face recognition. Dan Onorato is now reaching out across the whole state. His campaign knows that more is needed than televised debates and making known his position on issues.
In November, there will be a segment of voters who walk into that booth, recognize a name, connect it to a face and cast their ballot. For better or worse, Mr. Onorato's folksy and very clever ad will have served its purpose.
Since the Civic Arena will be no longer, this would be a great spot to reopen the Connelley technical school that was closed years ago. There are not nearly enough trade schools in the area to accommodate the need. Not everyone is college bound.
There are more than a few who would benefit from a new vocational school in the area. This would draw in the young people and give them a college alternative.
Voting is the answer
PG columnist Tony Norman again is right on. His column "There Are Bloody Good Reasons to Vote" (Sept. 28) gives me the feeling of "Retreat, hell. We're just advancing in the opposite direction." I've had that feeling before, even though I was not in Korea.
I'm 78 years old. Many times I've felt surrounded by things that seem not to work for good. So we are full circle again. The question is: Have we come out onto a higher plane or a lower plane after each cycle?
One thing is sure: You will never find out by not voting. Probably more certain, you will come out onto an even lower plane if you don't vote at all.
To keep the ship of democracy afloat, we need to keep voting.
Keystone Exams will negatively affect students
I am writing to express my disgust with the new Keystone Exam requirements for children ("More State Testing on Horizon for Students This Year," Sept. 20).
This is yet another completely unnecessary test requirement that interferes with their education. Of primary concern is the requirement that the exam score count for a third of their algebra grade.
This is absurd! We are telling our children that no matter how hard they work in class, they cannot hope to exceed a 66 percent or a D grade without the test results factored in. The requirement discriminates against kids who don't do well on standardized tests, especially those with learning disabilities in reading, which will now affect their math scores.
Additionally, they're losing out on a third of the algebra education that they should be getting. The teachers will be forced to focus on teaching to the test and not algebra instruction since the students' grades depend on it.
Of course this shouldn't happen, and teachers don't want this to happen, but when you grade the schools, and now the students, on the test results, it does.
The Keystone Exam requirement needs to be repealed immediately! Research shows that Algebra I is the most critical foundation for further math success, and we've just reduced algebra instruction by a third.
Please contact your state senators and representatives and urge them to correct this error now before children are permanently affected.
Let teachers teach
So the state wants to add more testing (Keystone Exams) for our students? My daughter is in 11th grade this year and will be subjected to PSSA testing for four weeks this spring in math, reading, writing and science. That is four weeks of lost instruction from her teachers.
These tests have become disruptive not only for the students but for the teachers as well. They are forced to "teach to the PSSA" rather than to follow a broader curriculum.
Get rid of these tests and let the teachers teach!
First Published October 5, 2010 12:00 am