Monday, January 14, 2013

PA is Laughing All the Way to the Bank

This billboard is along southbound I-81 around Milepost 8, less than a mile from my home.  Every time I pass it on a township road that literally passes in the shadow of this tall outdoor ad, I must stifle a chuckle because it represents government bureaucracy and opportunism at its best (or is it worst?).

Let me hand off to the Philadelphia CBS affiliate for a recap of our bizarre laws here in Pennsylvania regarding fireworks:

Do you want to buy large fireworks in Pennsylvania? The law says out-of-state residents may, but not Pennsylvania residents.
Pennsylvania law says Pennsylvania residents may only buy the small stuff — sparklers or small toy caps — from Pennsylvania dealers. But the dealers ARE permitted to sell larger fireworks with names like “storm chaser” or “rolling thunder” to out-of-state residents, according to Pennsylvania State trooper Morgan Crummy.
“Larger consumer fireworks, or display fireworks, may be sold to Pennsylvania residents,” Crummy says. “But they must have a display permit and also proof of residency. For non-residents, all that is required is proof of out-of-residency status.”
Crummy says buyers would then be subject to the laws of their home states. She says Pennsylvania residents may legally buy fireworks in other states, but it’s still against the law for them to be fired-off in Pennsylvania.

So to recap, PA residents may pull into places like Keystone Fireworks pictured above and buy only sparklers and the like, unless you've gotten a fireworks display permit from your local authorities.  However, if you whip out an out-of-state ID card, you may buy anything, even the big stuff.

So the good legislators of PA believe that big fireworks are just too dangerous to put into the hands of Joe or Jane Pennsylvanian...but if you are from somewhere else, buddy, go ahead and buy whatever you want (and thank you very much for that 6% sales tax you just paid us).  Just be extra careful, because those babies are too dangerous for our citizens.

Good for thee but not for me....believe me, I have no ax to grind here when it comes to fireworks.  Because besides attending the traditional large public displays on the 4th of July, I have no interest whatsoever in fireworks at the consumer level, even sparklers.  Just didn't get the pyro gene, I guess.

But it just seems a little disingenuous to ignore danger to the public to collect some tax revenue, just because that danger will happen south of the Mason-Dixon line.

I know, I know, big government and all that, but wouldn't it be, well, logical, for the Department of Commerce to establish some Federal standards here?  Seems like a perfect and logical exercise of national power for the bettement of all.


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