Misappropriation and misinformation

MARVIN COOPER

Avis

At the Aug. 27 Clinton County commissioners’ meeting with the public, they were considering imposing a $5 registration fee, that I oppose.

Here’s what the commissioners did NOT disclose to the public.

In January 2017, Pennsylvania residents saw an 8-cents-per-gallon increase in the state gasoline tax, making the total paid per gallon tax 52.8 cents.

State and federal gas taxes total 29.5 percent, the highest in the nation.

Section 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states, “All proceeds from gasoline and other motor fuel taxes, motor vehicle registration fees, license taxes, operators license fees and other excess taxes imposed on products used in motor transportation after providing therefore, A.) cost of administration and collection and B.) payment of obligations incurred in the construction and reconstruction of public highways and bridges shall be appropriated by the General Assembly to agencies of the state political subdivisions thereof, and used solely for construction, reconstruction and maintenance and repair of and safety of highways and bridges.

Along with the 8-cents-per-gallon increase, license, registration and title transfer fees were increased.

For fiscal year 2015-16, $755 million was taken from gas, etc. funds to pay for state police salaries.

This is supposed to come out of the General Fund. The $755 million contained on overfunding or $222.2 million, enough to resurface 1,111 miles of roadway or desing, replace and maintain 138 bridges for the next 25 years. (Source: April 5, 2017 Construction Equipment News)

Other misappropriation of highway funds: rails-to-trails built using gas tax revenues, toll monies collected by the Pennsylvania Turnpike to fund mass transit – RiverValley buses in Lycoming County. Owner/Operators Independent Drivers Association has a pending lawsuit against the commonwealth on this issue.

If the Clinton County commissioners were to pass the $5 fee, they would be acting like the Three Stooges on the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz, off to fleece and buffoon the public.

You can bet in a few years, should the $5 starter fee be imposed, it will increase and this fund will be misappropriated. Compares to Gov. Rendell and casino gambling “will reduce or eliminate school property taxes.”

In protest, should the $5 fee be initiated, all classic-antique-street rod vehicle owners with the exception of veterans benefit events, boycott area parades-vehicle shows-charitable events. Since the $5 fee is in place in Centre and Lycoming counties, such vehicle owners should show solidarity also.

(Editor’s Note: This letter was penned prior to commissioners’ vote Thursday morning to not impose the fee.)

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