LETTER: Saylor perpetuates outdate policies
Sean Cotter's July 2 article "York County legislators aren't holding their breath for resolution to state budget impasse" particularly focused on the views of state Rep. Stan Saylor.
It is most disheartening to read what Saylor has to say about the situation in Harrisburg, especially for someone like me who would like to see Pennsylvania crawl out of its 19th-century cocoon. What Rep. Saylor says illustrates exactly why Pennsylvania will never come into the 21st century and modernize its institutions and its approach to today's problems.
I am a supporter of Gov. Tom Wolf and believe that his recommendations offer the best hope for our state's future and its emergence into the modern era. That is not to say that I agree with every detail of the governor's proposals. For example, I would not fool around on the margins of the sales tax. I simply would raise the rate to 7 percent and otherwise leave it alone. It already is too complex and difficult to deal with, and I would not add to its woes. Since the sales tax rate has not changed in 48 years — it was set at 6 percent in 1967 — a simple 1 percent increase in its rate would be the easiest way to go.
Also, I do not believe that the personal income tax rate — now at 3.07 percent, not much different from its original rate of 2.3 percent when it was enacted in the first year of Gov. Milton Shapp's administration in 1971 — should be limited as Gov. Wolf would limit it. I would like to see it raised to 4 percent at a minimum and even possibly to 5 percent. These changes would ensure an end to the constant annual recurring farce in Harrisburg that Rep. Saylor's views would only perpetuate to the detriment of our state.
In 2003, the Brookings Institution submitted a study of Pennsylvania titled "Back to Prosperity: A Competitive Agenda for Renewing Pennsylvania." This totally nonpartisan look at Pennsylvania says it all in relating what was described by a reviewer as the commonwealth's "decades of poor planning, misdirected funding and shortsighted public policy." Leaving our future to persons with views like those of Rep. Saylor will surely take us nowhere and leave us with the same bleak, uncertain future we now face.