Sounds good to me
Their colleague Bracken Burns suggests that they're pandering, but I find it hard to criticize a proposal made by Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi and supported by Commissioner Diana Irey to use the county's local share of money generated by the casino at The Meadows for tax relief. Maggi and Irey suggest using the slots money to cut county taxes on property owners by 47 percent. It's hard to see where that's a bad thing. Instead of giving millions to big projects directed by the county redevelopment authority, why not put some money in the pockets of people all over the county? State lawmakers, after criticism of the way the first millions were divvied up earlier this year, have their own plan for revamping the system, which they detailed at a meeting Tuesday. Their proposal, called the Hometown Project Fund, would dole out the slots money to every municipality in the county, based on population. The lawmakers also want to remove the apparent conflict of interest from the process. "Based on the large role they play both as an applicant and in an administrative capacity, we strongly recommend that the Washington County Redevelopment Authority no longer be represented on the local share review panel in determining which applicants are to be funded." Burns likes none of this. He's all for the status quo and accused those who want to make changes of "outpandering each other." He also offered this smug comment: "What about a check for $1 million to every voter in Washington County? If you can't pick up the sarcasm, then I could spell it out for you." He added, "We took the professionals in the economic development community, and we put them around a table and said, 'Do your job.' Except for criticism from the news media, I think we did a pretty good job." I'll pause here so Mr. Burns can give himself another well-deserved pat on the back. His suggestion that only the news media complained about the process is ridiculous. Helen Keller could've heard people bitching about the way the money was distributed. Both the lawmakers' and Maggi's proposals seem to be more equitable than the fox-guarding-the-henhouse status quo, but I don't think you can ever go wrong by getting money directly into the hands of the people. Folks are struggling right now, trying to keep their homes as they deal with high prices for gasoline, groceries and other necessities. They could use the help that Maggi's tax-relief plan would provide. The commissioner calls his proposal "an economic stimulus program for Washington County." I agree. The whole benefit of legalized gambling in Pennsylvania was supposed to be help for property owners. And, as Maggi told the lawmakers at Tuesday's meeting, "The Legislature has been promising tax relief for years and not delivering." So, why not do it on the local level?