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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

A Closer Look At The State College ‘Tap Tax’

The State College Borough Council has been making headlines recently in The Daily Collegian for its proposed ten percent tax on “poured drinks” in downtown bars. The usual reactions, some for and some against, have been documents in the pages of our newspaper.

Yet, when we cut out all the rhetoric, what is this tax really about? Is it simply another way for the borough to raise money? Can a tax that will impact students and alumni of Penn State really be a “dream tax” for a woman who heads the borough council neighboring one of America’s great colleges?

Without the students, the town would neither be as economically vibrant nor as “recession proof” (as an article put it yesterday), for our shared community relies on the cash brought in by the students.

And while few students become permanent residents, all students end up paying into the State College Borough’s financial pot in property taxes and other residence taxes that are paid indirectly through their monthly rent.

The bottom line: this tax — a “tap tax,” if you will — represents neither a thoughtful application of the intelligence of the Borough Council in solving their budget shortfall nor a meaningful attempt to combat excessive consumption at the bars.

A new approach to the drinking issue is warranted at this critical juncture in our community and across our university campus. As this debate unfolds, Safeguard Old State will be here to offer commentary and direction for new ways of approaching the issue of this “tap tax.”

Join us as we attempt to get to the root causes of this tax and the drinking culture at Penn State.

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