A teleconference hosted by Rep. Rick Mirabito, a Williamsport Democrat who represents much of our region, drew some interested comments, particularly from the lawmaker.
In the context of the teleconference, Mirabito reaffirmed his support of a severance tax on natural gas drilling companies on top of the impact fee they are now paying.
He pointed out that a survey showed 63 percent of those polled on ways of raising revenue for the state's roads and bridges indicated that a severance tax would be the way to go.
He also pointed out that the impact fee is flawed in that only 60 percent of the revenue goes to local governments.
Unfortunately, a severance tax would have created revenues for the General Fund with even a lower percentage winding up in local hands.
As Mirabito correctly pointed out, rural areas in the state often get short-shrifted when it comes to distributing money statewide. We can only imagine how much on the short end our area would wind up when revenues from a severance tax are distributed.
We can only wonder what percentage of our roads and bridges would be brought up to date through severance tax distribution.
With the natural gas companies in a holding pattern right now regarding their work in Pennsylvania, the wiser move in the name of roads and bridges would be to sell off the state's liquor stores in a move toward privatizing the system which Mirabito opposes to create the revenues.
We have always appreciated Rep. Mirabito's sincere efforts to represent his constituents. We just respectfully disagree on how to execute that representation on some issues.