Oct. 30–READING, Pa. — In a debate Monday night on BCTV, both state House candidates in the 187th District said they support eliminating property taxes.
Republican state Rep. Gary Day of Lehigh County and Democratic challenger Michael Blichar Jr. of Kutztown each said they favored ending the tax during a debate hosted by the Berks County League of Women Voters.
Blichar pledged to support ending the levy, saying it would not only help homeowners, but would also bolster business development and help create jobs.
Day said that the issue is near and dear to people of the district and it has been talked about for many years. But he said the problem is that the tax would be replaced with a combination of income and sales tax increases that would first go to Harrisburg instead of local coffers. That would means less local control.
Day supports elimination, but wants local control of school funding protected.
The candidates differed on whether the environment is adequately protected during the extraction of coal and natural gas in Pennsylvania.
Blichar said that companies are unchecked in Pennsylvania because there is no severance tax on the amount of gas removed.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has advocated for a tax on gas removed from Pennsylvania ground, a proposal that has lacked support in the GOP-controlled Legislature.
“That is a difference between me and my opponent,” Day said. “His answer on many things is to tax everything.”
Day noted that Pennsylvania already has an impact fee in place on natural gas.
Beyond taxing, Day said that when extracting gas, companies are putting water and pressure into the ground and the state needs to understand and monitor what chemicals are involved in that process.
The 187th District covers part of Lehigh County, and in Berks County includes Kutztown and Lyons boroughs and Maxatawny Township.
Each candidate was asked to say something nice about his opponent.
Day said Blichar, who serves on the Kutztown Borough Planning Commission, seems like an engaged young man. Blichar said Day, “has a passion for the people of the district and has served people pretty well up to this point.”
(c)2018 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.)
Visit the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.) at readingeagle.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.