MARK M. STEPHENSON: Patriots' debt forum an excellent event
September 11, 2013 10:20 AM

Some reflections about the Indiana-Armstrong Patriots event held at KCAC on Aug. 27. The organizers and speakers conducted an excellent event. The national debt is out of control, and, yes, the tax code needs to be reformed in many areas.

I thought the Gazette was a little light on its coverage. I am sure there were other people in the audience besides myself who do not belong to either of the main political parties, so the statement about the events being loosely tied and having a feel of a Republican campaign rally is a little thin. What is wrong at this particular time in being a “conservative”? However, we all know that most of the liberal media doesn’t like conservatives.

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley reported that the inheritance tax on family farms and businesses has been eliminated. If so, the administration and General Assembly are to be commended.

At nearly the same time, the state House and Senate voted to trash private property rights by allowing deep gas operations on private property with or without the owner’s consent. Ask your state representative and senator about the unanimous vote and quick passage by this administration. (Yes, 100 percent of the General Assembly voted for passage of the act.) If only public school real estate taxes could be changed in such a short period of time by a mix and system of taxes, with definite caps, to involve all adult residents, the excessive real estate tax burden could be lifted. The General Assembly either considers it a hot political potato or is incapable of doing it.

Chris Wetherson, president of IUP College Republicans, stated that higher education is leaving students mired in debt. According to the figures provided by Mr. Wetherson, IUP tuition is only about half of the cost of a K-12 student in the Armstrong School District. Almost all businesses and individuals incur debt. If you don’t want any, do something else. How about a farmer that purchased an $80,000 tractor only to learn that shelled corn went from $8 a bushel to $4?

A couple of quick points: There was no mention in the article about U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, or Tom Smith’s comments. Mr. Smith told the audience how he and his wife earned and paid for her degree.

In the future, the Gazette coverage of these events should be a little more thorough.

Mark M. Stephenson


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