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Letters to the Editor - Aug. 3

August 03, 2013

Private investors alone won’t save downtown


To the editor:

On July 21, The Herald-Mail published a letter from Nancy Allen that basically said downtown Hagerstown could be completely rebuilt and rejuvenated by private investors. She appears to believe that private investors alone can solve the decades-long decline of downtown Hagerstown. If this were true, it would have already happened. 

I am a huge fan of private investment, because that is where the real money is in our economy, and we all know that economic growth and wealth are created by the private sector.  Government is not a source of new wealth; however, we do need government involvement to assist in acquiring private investment. And the fact of the matter is that if it were not for the outstanding job that the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission has been and is doing things would be a whole lot worse around here.

A lot of good economic growth is happening around Hagerstown and more is coming — much of it due to the efforts of the EDC. No one is happy with the current slow pace of downtown business growth and renewal; however, the people who are trying to make it happen for downtown are our local, city and county officials. I do not see private investors falling all over themselves to come and be the savior of downtown Hagerstown.

We need to support all of the current efforts that the economic development commission is now pursuing to bring private investment to Hagerstown, and we need to support all of our local officials in their efforts to bring growth to Hagerstown.  This is the process that can and will eventually rebuild the downtown. 

It is easy to oppose what our local governments are doing to try to bring growth to the city; however, it would be more useful if people would educate themselves about what is really happening that is positive in Hagerstown and Washington County and get behind it or offer some positive alternatives. 


Rodney Pearson, Sr.
Keedysville




A national sales tax might be the answer


To the editor:

Everyone agrees that taxing Internet sales is needed to prevent the eventual demise of every store in America, and there’s only one practical way to accomplish it — a national sales tax.

While Pennsylvania has only three sales tax entities — 6 percent statewide and an additional tax in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties — in many states smaller municipal units each have their own sales taxes, adding up to more than 9,000 separate sales tax jurisdictions nationwide.

Congress is currently considering bills that would require every business doing more than $1 million annually to collect sales tax on Internet sales, but clearly the record keeping and paperwork required to keep up with and submit such taxes would put every small and even medium-size business out of the Internet business.

But a national sales tax would reduce the sorting and record-keeping from 9,000 to 1, and could also be a relatively painless route to a more need-based tax distribution, since the feds would then return the sales taxes to the states, or even directly to counties, based on population. Poorer areas, where presumably less money is spent by the citizens, would get back a proportionately larger share while wealthier areas would get back somewhat less than they paid in.

The two states that don’t currently have a sales tax — Delaware and New Hampshire — and areas where the current sales tax is lower than whatever national percentage is chosen, could adjust their other taxes downward to allow for their new windfall.

As Internet sales increase, everyone knows this eventually has to happen, and this seems the only practical way to accomplish it. 


Paul Politis
Greencastle, Pa.

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