Mehaffie's Report: Cut Services or Raise Taxes

Mehaffie’s Report: Cut Services or Raise Taxes
By Representative Tom Mehaffie, 106th District
Source: Hummelstown Sun

May 30 was the one-year anniversary of the announcement that Three Mile Island would close in 2019. It’s no secret that the closure will eliminate thousands of Central Pennsylvania jobs, including the nearly 700 full-time jobs for TMI employees and thousands of workers who support the plant during a refueling outage. If a new employer came to the area and said it wanted to bring more than 600 full-time, high-paying jobs to the region, we would celebrate and do whatever we could to ensure it set up shop here.

But to say this is just a jobs issue would only be telling half the story. TMI is one of the largest sources of property tax revenue in Dauphin County. It is the largest tax-payer by far in Londonderry Township and represents nearly $500,000 in the Lower Dauphin School District budget. If this plan closes, it would likely leave these municipal governments with two very simple options – cut services or raise taxes.

In addition to tax revenue, Exelon makes valuable non-profit contributions to organizations within our communities. Whether it’s support for our local first responders or funding for Lower Dauphin’s Bookmobile, Royalton Senior Center and many other community organizations, few employers in Dauphin County are providing more financial support to our community organizations than TMI.

Contrary to what nuclear energy opponents claim, TMI is not an anomaly in its current challenges or its community and economic impact. Just a few months ago, FirstEnergy announced it will be closing three of its dual-unit nuclear plants, including a facility in Beaver County. TMI and Beaver Valley represent nearly 1,500 direct jobs, thousands of indirect jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue and community contributions. If ever there was an economic development project worth fighting for, this is it.

Groups like Clean Jobs for PA are bringing together community leaders from across the region to advocate for a solution to this problem. People throughout our state and our country often take for granted where their electricity comes from, and I applaud the efforts of groups like Clean Jobs for PA, which are trying to educate the public on everything involved in making the lights come on when you flip the switch.

Last year, I was proud to join the newly created Nuclear Energy Caucus. We’ve had several hearings and heard testimony from the companies that operate these plants and the workers who make them function. We have heard time and time again about the jobs that will be lost if these plants close and the importance of keeping these plants, which create over 93 percent of Pennsylvania’s low-carbon electricity, as part of a diversified energy portfolio. It is my sincere hope that my colleagues in the state Legislature will join me in searching for and supporting a solution that keeps these plants operational, because the jobs AND the positive impact they have on our communities is irreplaceable.

Read the original online article here.

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