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Misuse of tax-exempt bonds

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

The news story “Trash hauler seeks state aid for landfill improvements in Western Pennsylvania” (June 26 and TribLIVE.com) reported that Waste Management Inc. is seeking $100 million in tax-exempt bonds through a state agency to finance improvements at 16 landfills and recycling centers statewide.

I have to wonder why our state government would provide this form of corporate welfare to a very profitable, stockholder-owned company that would make such “improvements” with its own money absent the government largess.

Waste Management is required to operate its landfills in accordance with environmental laws. Landfill improvements are either mandated by laws or desirable to the company to improve operations and increase profitability. Corporate welfare, such as tax-exempt bonds, is good for companies but bad for taxpayers.

The cost of tax-exempt bonds for all of us is very high, but not really measurable because the cost comes in the form of taxes not being paid that otherwise would have been paid. Reducing this hidden cost would be easy if our legislators would just say “no.”

William Fields

Shaler

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