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Please, Mr. School Director, may I keep enough to survive the winter?

April 16, 2008 - LLee Janssen

So I read in today's paper that the Williamsport Area School Board faces three options with their budget: one factoring in the maximum tax increase law allows, one with a middle of the road increase, and a third with no tax increase.

I, of course, prefer the latter ... who doesn't? But in the weeks ahead, we're sure to hear about spiraling costs of operating the schools, from health insurance premiums to increased fuel costs.

While that may be true, it is my sincere hope that the school board will put the taxpayers' plight first for once, as they too are struggling with the same issues, and nobody is coming to their rescue to help with their household budgets. Those increased costs of survival have sapped our economy, and the board needs to perform a true public service and at least spare its taxpayers from any tax hike and provide at least a sigh of relief in that one corner.

Lots of other school boards already have indicated their intentions to hold the line on taxes. Those that have not need to realize the plight we are in at this point in time and do what they can to help us all get through this rough patch.

*****

Crime is down. So sayeth the mayor. Yet when the economy goes sour, some people resort to crime as a means of survival. Stay tuned.

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And then there are the candidates ... Some are sincere. Some are well educated. And a few are out of touch.

People who attended the two political forums sponsored this week by the Sun-Gazette and Backyard Broadcasting at the Community Arts Center got to see the candidates in action as they faced a media panel and then took audience questions. As a panelist, I based my questions on state budget issues facing elected officials in office this year.

It's always interesting when a candidate decides not to answer the question but instead use his answer time to plug his radio spot, as Mr. Huffman did, or to tell the audience that these issues really amount to problems that can all be solved and eliminated simply by providing jobs and improving the economy, as Mr. Yaw did.

But when has anybody in Harrisburg solved that problem and made the solution stick? We've been in decline in terms of good paying, family sustaining jobs since the 1970s, so I would point out to those who would serve the local constituency that becoming a state legislator or a state senator that you will be expected to solve myriad problems if the people elect you and send you to the capitol. People expect their officials to work toward solutions. Ducking questions simply says you don't know your stuff or you don't care about their problems. The people deserve better.

 
 

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