The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

April 6, 2013

Readers' Forum 4-6 | CEASE gives Hilltop taxpayers a voice

— In reply to Tom Petrore’s Readers’ Forum letter on April 3 (“Hilltop’s woes can be laid at feet of state”) concerning Westmont Hilltop School District:

He is correct that our schools are not large enough to permit consolidation into two buildings, and that, relative to cost per child, the district ranks among the lowest in Pennsylvania.

He stated that “the current group has been silent since the board didn’t raise taxes.” If he is referring to CEASE, I offer the following facts:

* CEASE has published two ads a month in The Tribune-Democrat.

* It has announced five candidates in the May 21 primary, all of whom have children in WHSD.

* It has organized a community forum on April 22 at the middle school for all candidates.

* It has volunteers to work the polls.

* It will canvass neighborhoods before the election.

* It has several members who have routinely participated in board meetings and five are serving on the WHSD comprehensive planning committee.

Taxpayers have individually, or in small groups, complained for years about annual tax increases.

Unfortunately, until the formation of CEASE, they did not have a way to collectively express their concerns.

A significant factor determining the funding a district receives is its relative wealth. WHSD is among the top 50-wealthiest districts in Pennsylvania, and the percentage it receives is greater than almost half of the districts in the state.

Close to 50 percent of the students in some neighboring districts are in families whose incomes are at or below the federal poverty level.

James Greco

Westmont

Manufacturing still a key part of economy

“The United States now has an information economy.”

Politicians, economists and business professionals have made statements something to this effect for the past several months.

This, in reality, means that having a large manufacturing sector is not compatible with today’s economy and today’s situations.

There are many kinds of information.

We should not limit ourselves to some kinds of new information and not others.

Changes and advances in physics, chemistry, metallurgy, engineering and other schools of science, and in other academic arenas, can and do occur as part of advances in manufacturing. Therefore, I conclude that an information economy is incomplete without a robust manufacturing sector.

I also believe that this prevailing philosophy is an excuse to not hire U.S. workers and pay them livable wages.

This enables today’s inflated numbers of American millionaires to be the norm, regardless of whom or how many it hurts.

In other words, greed is the main reason for calling for an incomplete information economy – one that lacks manufacturing.

Let the common worker and common voter take peaceful action to change this situation very soon.

John Rodgers Jr.

Somerset

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