WE CAN ONLY FAIL – UNLESS…

November 17, 2013 at 10:52 am | Posted in Failure of Government - Not Responsible to the Electorate, Flawed Legislative Process - Improper Use of "Committees", Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, Positive Economic Impact of The Property Tax Independence Act, PSEA / Teacher Union impact on property tax increases, Real Reform 76, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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THIS POST CULMINATES IN AN URGENT REQUEST THAT YOU GO TO THIS POST ON OUR WEBSITE AND TAKE THE ACTION SPECIFIED.  IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ THE REST OF THE POST, PLEASE AT LEAST CLICK ON THE ABOVE LINK, GO THERE NOW AND COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THE FORM-MAIL PRESENTED.  TOTAL, THE FORM-MAIL SHOULD TAKE A MINUTE TO COMPLETE.  NOW, ON TO THE REST OF THIS POST!

This is the 85th post we’ve entered on this website.  The majority of them have addressed, in one form or another, the elimination of the school property tax as the means of funding public education in Pennsylvania.  Instead, we’ve advocated it’s replacement with a better system where all Pennsylvania Citizens and Businesses are involved in shouldering education costs.  A long time ago, it was “The Plan For Pennsylvania’s Future.  That effort predated our current era struggle which began over a year ago with the introduction of HB 1776 and SB 1400.  Predictably, they went nowhere because instead of embracing the basic concepts of the legislation and making it work to all of our advantages, our elected officials chose to stifle it under a sea of reasons it wouldn’t work underwritten mainly by large organizational special interest groups who wished the status quo to remain firmly in place.

But from the rubble of HB 1776, left by our esteemed House of Representatives and its leadership, there arose from the ashes HB 76 and SB 76 this year, better known and better supported as “The Property Tax Independence Act”.  Well, folks, so far we’re not faring much better in the House this year either.  Despite an ever increasing number of citizen taxpayer groups supporting it state-wide (over 80 now) and despite having 96 co-sponsors in the House and 24 in the Senate (that’s a lot!), the bill(s) are still tied up in their respective chamber Finance Committees.  The House Finance Committee passed three grossly inferior property tax “relief” bills out to the House Floor giving legislators a really inferior product to pass on to the Senate (here, I’m referring to the completely worthless HB 1189 which is criticized as inferior in the primary sponsor’s own legislative district)!  What’s wrong?  Why is something as seemingly “no brainer” as passing the Property Tax Independence Act – like past similar measures – seemingly doomed to never leave the launch pad?

Have you ever heard the expression “It’s the squeaking wheel that gets the grease?”  My guess is you have, but haven’t  given it much thought lately.  There are other common expression you should also consider.  “Money talks!” “Follow the money!”

I believe the real reason that property tax elimination / replacement always fails to advance to a “law of the land status” is that well funded, organizational special interest lobby’s continue to control government and legislative outcomes.  Such interests that bankroll political campaigns of those who get elected and stay elected to hold the status quo are firmly in control.   Such organizations are public unions and professional and business organizations that will loose power, control and, yes, even some money given passage of The Property Tax Independence Act (never mind that the Act will be a huge economic advantage for most of the State and its citizens!). I believe that few of us ever look behind the campaign funding of those we elect into office to see who’s funding them.  And as long as…”we, the [taxpaying] people”…don’t rise up in wrathful indignation and demand that elected officials bow to our will, we’ll continue to fail to get true reform in this and any other arena where significant change is needed!  In other words, “we’re led like sheep….”

So,  we can  only continue to fail – UNLESS!  Unless you decide to get involved  right here; right now; this very instant and contact your elected official and others to let them know what your will is!  The time is now and “tempus fugit!”  Reports show that if this Act in not enacted within a very short time frame (perhaps less than a year), then because of out of control educational spending it will become increasingly expensive – if not impossible to implement the tax shift and cost controlling strategies  encompassed by it.

And there are now powerful business interests that have recognized its huge economic and educational benefits — The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (PAR) among them — which are coming out in support of the Act (see, for example “Real Reform 76” or “Real Reform 76 on Facebook“).  And that’s significant and very important.  But this is still a basically grass-roots effort (see www.ptcc.us for full information if you haven’t already).  We don’t have well funded lobbyists.  We have people willing to speak out to influence those elected; but it takes a lot of us!  It needs the participation of tens of thousands if not millions of homeowners who are sick and tired of paying school property taxes year after year and having them rise at a rate higher than their income, inflation, and any other economic measure available.  It requires people who are sick of costly real estate assessments and reassessments that seem to become necessary to bring taxes up (or only temporarily down) at a very localized geographic and political district level.  In short, I’m assuming it requires YOU!

The Pennsylvania Senate could still hear the case for its part of the Act before the legislative session ends this Fall.  Will you please go to THIS WEBPAGE on our site and complete the form-mail that will go to all senators across The Commonwealth.  We need tens of thousands of these form-mails to be sent if we’re going to finally “fail to fail” — and actually succeed!  It’s up to YOU.  Will you be part of the success of the most far reaching and needed school funding reform this State has ever seen — or will you just move on with other things and ensure once again that…”we can only fail!”

Note:  To those of you who have been faithful all along in doing everything in your power to make school property tax elimination / replacement a reality, this post obviously doesn’t pertain to you.  But please click on the above link and complete the simple form-mail and SUBMIT it.  Seriously, we should have millions of these messages going to every senator as soon as possible.  Thanks.

Dave Pool, DBTA

To The Pennsylvania Senate — We Can’t Wait Longer – An Action Post

November 15, 2013 at 11:27 am | Posted in Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, Positive Economic Impact of The Property Tax Independence Act, Real Reform 76, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania | Leave a comment
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If you choose to participate, the MESSAGE below will be sent to every member of the Pennsylvania Senate.  Time is running out on our ability to effectively shift the burden of public school funding from a property tax base to a much fairer, more contemporary and  sustainable system wherein all taxpaying citizens of the this Commonwealth participate equitably in providing education for generations of children now and to come.  That system is embodied in The Property Tax Independence Act  (HB 76 and SB 76) which is currently working its way through the almost inexplicable labyrinth of the State’s legislative process.  It is currently up to the State Senate of remove SB 76 from its Finance Committee and get it onto the Senate Floor for debate and vote.  There are 24 of 50 senators currently signed on as co-sponsors of the measure — very close to the majority of 26 needed to move the legislation on.  We need every bit of support we can muster to show the Senate we are a movement be reckoned with — not just the powerful and well funded special interest groups working against the measure who wish to retain the status quo of permitting each of 500 school boards across the state to decide what property and business owners will pay for public schooling!  That hasn’t worked to stem the unprecedented rise in school property taxes in the past — and it won’t work now (see The Analysis of the Independent Fiscal Office Report).  And if we don’t act soon, costs are going to make it impossible to achieve true property tax reform (see the above IFO Report Analysis)!  Please take less than a minute to complete and click SUBMIT to send the following form-mail message to all of our Senators today!  Thousands of these form-mails appearing in Senatorial email in-boxes from individual taxpaying citizens will go a long way to convincing them of our resolve and to ensuring that our government will pay attention to our plight — and our plea!

MESSAGE:

A Message To Our Pennsylvania Senators; October 2013 – An Action Post

October 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Posted in Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, Positive Economic Impact of The Property Tax Independence Act, PSEA / Teacher Union impact on property tax increases, Public School Staff Pensions, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania | Leave a comment
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Please send the following message to our senators, all of whom have yet to consider SB 76 – “The Property Tax Independence Act” – as a formal legislative protocol.  It is extremely important to complete and submit the form-mail below.  it is also extremely  important that any comments you add to the end of the message be courteous, respectful and non-threatening.  Remember, The Senate hasn’t had a chance to review and act on on our citizen-based legislation yet.  We certainly don’t want any vitriol that we may feel as a result of House action to seep into our approach to The Senate where we may receive a more welcoming response.  Do this if you continue to believe that elimination / replacement of property taxes with a fair, sustainable system (HB / SB 76) is the only reform measure that makes sense when considering the funding of public (K-12) education in Pennsylvania.  Thank you!

[Note: As an aside, if you will read this three page analysis (hb-sb_76_shortfall_analysis_r1_100913), the same factual document that we're asking our senators to read, you will note the tremendous differential rise in the  property tax as compared to other forms of taxation and compared to the CPI.  The only reason at the core of these differences (that makes sense) is the need to fund ever increasing education staff salaries and pensions/benefits; increases that most of the rest of us don't enjoy and yet, as property owners and business owners, we are expected to continue to fund at unreasonable and unsustainable levels through our property taxes!]

Dave Pool, DBTA

Message

Couldn’t Make the Rally; You Can Still Help Make It Work – An Action Post!

September 28, 2013 at 11:16 am | Posted in Failure of Government - Not Responsible to the Electorate, Flawed Legislative Process - Improper Use of "Committees", Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania | 2 Comments
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NOTE:  IMPORTANT ACTION FORM AT THE END OF THIS POST

Seriously??  Events of this week in Harrisburg on property tax reform have been nothing less than — well,  astonishing!  First, Rep. Benninghoff, Majority Leader of the House Finance Committee brings forth no less than 4 inferior measures that all purport to “relieve” the burden of school property taxation on homeowners but refuses to release the one measure to the House floor which would ELIMINATE the burden of property taxes on homeowners and business owners across the state; i.e. HB 76.  Reasons for the failure to release HB 76 were based on year old data and other errors that are nothing less than obvious attempts to deceive the public.  Tuesday, September 24th  was the “FILL-A-Bus Tour” that brought hundreds of citizens from the 81 taxpayer activist groups of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations to Harrisburg to demonstrate and meet with their elected representatives in an attempt to convince them that HB 76 / SB 76 are the only measures worth considering in the arena of property tax reform.  Then, on the House floor, after consideration for a day, the 4 measures that made it there are tabled until the next week for more consideration while the House “recessed”.  Meanwhile, a report from lthe Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (a so called “independent” organization) was circulated and provided more erroneous information about the effects of HB 76 if enacted.  And then there was a Facebook Post from the Coalition for Fairness in Property Tax Reform, an amalgam coalition of business organizations claiming that neither HB 76 nor HB 1189 would be acceptable to them.  For once, we can agree with them that HB 1189 is unacceptable; it’s too fraught with complexities of implementation, fairness issues and ability of local school boards across the Commonwealth to not only ignore, but potentially raise local school taxes at an even faster pace in the future.  Their take on HB 76, again, is based on erroneous information or based on arguments that either have or can be satisfied with amendments – if HB 76 can only get to the House floor. 

We continue to need to get HB 76 and SB 76 to the floor of their respective legislative chambers to experience the light of full debate and discussion – and amendment as appropriate.  What is happening, frankly, is the hijacking of a completely citizen-based and supported initiative (The Property Tax Independence Act – HB 76 / SB 76).  It’s being hijacked so that a few politicians and special interest organizations can tell us, …”we, the [taxpaying] people”… what they want us to have and what they are willing to give us.  They don’t really want property tax reform and are willing to confuse, distract and deceive in order to give us the minimum “relief” they think will enable them to say “we gave you tax relief — now shut up and leave us alone!”  Understanding this, are you willing to tell settle for what they’re willing to give?  Or are you willing to step up and take the simple action being requested of you in this post?  If not, then “Big Government” and “Power Politics” wins again and we all go on paying more to the “piper” until some of us can’t afford to dance any more. 

If you could not attend the rally in Harrisburg on Tuesday, you can still help a lot.  Take the simple step of filling out and submitting the following form-mail message that will go to all state representatives and to the governor’s office.  If you will take less than a minute to complete and submit the form and then forward it; share it; Facebook it; Twitter it; etc., then by Monday, every citizen in Pennsylvania can have contacted all of them to let them know WE WANT HB 76 / SB 76 – THE PROPERTY TAX INDEPENDENCE ACT – AND WE WANT IT NOW!  Like it or not, we’re now in an age where social media is a powerful force in shaping important outcomes!  It’s up to you!

Thanks

Dave Pool, DBTA Co-coordinator

THE PROPERTY TAX INDEPENDENCE ACT [HB 76/SB 76] – I WANT IT NOW!

Please Stop Thinking You Know What We Want – Do What We Ask! – An Action Post

September 21, 2013 at 10:26 am | Posted in Failure of Government - Not Responsible to the Electorate, Flawed Legislative Process - Improper Use of "Committees", Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania | 2 Comments
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The Message of this post is found in the form-mail below.  The message will go to members of the House Finance Committee.  For information about why the message is being sent and the urgency behind sending it, read the rest of the material below the mail form.  The outrageous behavior of our House Republican Leadership goes well beyond the issue of elimination of school property taxes.  It goes directly to the heart of what’s wrong with government today; where a few people in entrenched leadership positions can subvert the will of …”we the [taxpaying] people”… through deception, distraction and use of a legislative process that runs very close to “dictatorial”.  It means that, if we continue to allow this to happen, we will never be free of powerful special interests dictating what we will and will not have or do; or from “Nanny State” leaders “knowing best” what we need and want.

After reading the message and adding whatever comments you want (don’t worry, there’s plenty of space even though it looks small) and checking your agreement with the message, click the SUBMIT button and send the message that …”we’re mad as h^^^ and we’re not going to take it anymore…”.  Your can be as pointed in your comments as you want, but keep it respectful.  We don’t want to step down to the level of “governmental bullying” that House Leadership is engaging in here!  Every message sent is a vote for the right of the will of the people to be heard!  Thanks,

David Pool, Co-coordinator, DBTA

Please Stop Thinking You Know What We Want – Do What We Ask!

Brief background information:

If you need to know more about HB 76 and SB 76 – “The Property Tax Independence Act”, go to http://www.ptcc.us.

The urgency of you acting is based on information we’ve received from David Baldinger and thte Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations:

The House Finance Committee, under the leadership of Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, will hold a voting session on Monday, September 23, on four bills, all of which are various forms of bogus property tax “relief” scams.  Note that there is no mention of HB 76.

 11:00 AM: Voting meeting on HB 125, HB 1189, HB 1677, HB 1685, and any other business that may come before the Committee.

 HB 125:  A Constitutional Amendment to allow the homestead exclusion to be increased to 100% of assessed value.  Has been proposed on at least two separate occasions in the past and has failed each time.

 HB 1189: Rep. Seth Grove’s fraudulent local tax shift “relief” bill.  We’ve discussed this often enough in the past that you should all know about this scam.

 HB 1677: Modification of the Homestead exclusion.  Worthless.

 HB 1685: Rep. Kerry Benninghoff’s latest property tax “relief” distraction that would allow school boards to unilaterally do a partial shift from the property tax to a local earned income tax without voter approval.  This bill was introduced on Thursday (9/19) and is already being put to a vote on Monday.  The same tax shift proposal failed in 494 of 498 eligible school districts in a May, 2007 voter referendum, yet he still tries to oppose the will of the people with this legislation.

 Rep. Benninghoff is wasting no time after the General Assembly returns to session on Monday to move these useless measures and shove them down our throats in complete defiance of the desires of the Pennsylvania taxpayers.

This issue goes far beyond property tax elimination.  These actions, in my opinion, show beyond a doubt that there are those members of the General Assembly who are not representatives of the people but are, instead, lackeys for the special interests that fund their campaigns.  This is about the rights of us as citizens to have a voice in OUR government, a voice that is being ignored by arrogant lawmakers who insist on imposing their agendas on us in total defiance of our wishes.  We, the people, need to take a stand to take back our government NOW!

HB 76 — We’re Tired of Waiting for OUR Legislation– An Action Post!

September 18, 2013 at 9:49 am | Posted in Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, Positive Economic Impact of The Property Tax Independence Act, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania | 8 Comments
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PLEASE COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THE EMAIL FORM AT THE END OF THIS POST

Note that any Pennsylvania Citizen may complete the form regardless of address or legislative district!

“We, the [taxpaying] people”… are tired of waiting for what we’ve been asking for — many of us for over a decade!  We want school property tax elimination and we want it now – before it becomes too expensive and unsustainable to fix.  We’ve been patient with elected officials over time and political sessions and listened to their promises and what they are trying to do.  But after so much time and so many deceptive, diversionary “shell game” efforts to fix the problem have been offered and failed, our patience, along with our hopes of getting what we’ve been asking for done is finished!  Our elected officials have failed us and the thought of getting a fair legislative process to work for us is expiring!

What we want is encompassed in HB 76 and SB 76 – companion legislation introduced in the House and Senate that combine to form “The Property Tax Independence Act”.  What we are asking is that the unfair, outdated, unsustainable and frankly unconstitutional property tax method of paying for public education in this State be replaced by a fairer, more distributive and imminently more sustainable system of income and sales / use taxes.  Simultaneously, the Act promises to provide a consistent and (more than) adequate income stream which will stabilize education funding across all 500 school districts in Pennsylvania.  It’s desirability is unmatched by anything previously or currently on the table to address the problem of skyrocketing school property taxes statewide and at the same time addresses the problem of out of control spending and unequal funding.  It also begins to eliminate what we feel is the unconstitutional nature of taxing property in that one never claims clear title to property at any time; the State is always getting “rent” and maintains a part ownership regardless of all other debts on the property being satisfied.  For anyone not familiar with the effort to remove / replace the property tax as the means to fund public education in Pennsylvania, go to http://www.ptcc.us for complete, accurate information!

Our bill; our legislation is currently languishing in a House Committee (Finance) where it will not be considered for release unless we unfailingly and  unequivocally make our voices heard to the government officials who are holding it hostage.  For whatever special reasons they have, Rep. Turzai, House Majority Leader and Rep. Benninghoff, Majority Chair of the Finance Committee are making deceptive claims about our bill and not allowing it to come to the House floor for full disclosure, debate and vote.  Primary among their claims is that the measure under-funds public education compared to the amount currently collected in property taxes.  Yet their claims are based on a year old report from the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO).  This problem and others mentioned have long since been corrected.  The most recent report on the fiscal soundness of the measure (in a Department of Revenue [DOR] report shows that more than enough revenue will be generated to pay for public education; a happy problem that can easily be scaled back through amendments to the bill as it is introduced.  Almost all bills go through one or more amendment processes.  Currently, the bill has 91 cosponsors in the House and 23 in the Senate.  This is more co-sposorship than many bills that become law.

If you are completely disgusted with what is nothing more than “power politics” disrupting the legislative process supporting the will of…”we, the [taxpaying] people”…, then complete and send the short form below.  It will go to Mr. Turzai, Mr. Benninghoff and all members of the House Finance Committee.  Add your comments if you wish where indicated (please be respectful).   Check the box that indicates your agreement with the message and click on the SUBMIT button at the end of the mail form.

[Notes: You may indicate in your comments that you disagree with parts of the message if you wish.  The message will not send until you complete all required fields, check the box indicating your agreement (including your comments, if any) and then click the SUBMIT.]

Thank you.

David Pool, Co-coordinator; DBTA

WE’RE TIRED OF WAITING

HB 76 / SB 76 – Making Sense of Distractions and Distractions

September 15, 2013 at 11:35 am | Posted in Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, Positive Economic Impact of The Property Tax Independence Act, Public School Staff Pensions, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania | Leave a comment
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The following post is a direct copy of an email I received from Jim Rodkey, spokesperson for the Lebanon 9-12 Project.  I have written before about distractions and diversions and how easily they seem to send us all in different directions instead of focusing on the goals we seek — in this case elimination / replacement of school property taxes via HB 76 / SB 76 — collectively The Property Tax Independence Act.  I have nowhere seen a more succinct, well framed document addressing this issue so, with thanks to Jim, I present what he has written:

I don’t know how to say this gently so I’m not even going to try.  Our opposition would love to see us take down Reps like Jim Cox.  They want us to eat our own.  The rumors about Rep. Cox not doing everything in his power to lead on this is the house is exactly that, a rumor.  It’s spread by our opponents to get him out of the way in an attempt to neuter him.   Likewise, Grove’s attacks on David Baldinger are intended to divide us.  It is apparent that they have had some minimal success with this effort so let’s not add to that success with our own infighting or participate in the eating of our own in this process.

It’s true that there’s no guarantee that a co-sponsor is a yes vote.  They also know that when this bill gets to the floor a no vote is political suicide.  There is yet another part of this.  While the Capitol is a beautiful building with it’s majestic architecture and beautiful structure, the inside of that building can be a very ugly place.  EVERY co-sponsor in the House is a Co-Sponsor that is telling the leadership that they are wrong on this issue.  As the rhetoric has ramped up by that leadership in opposition to HB 76, the fact that we haven’t lost more co-sponsors is something that we should be proud of.  This puts the co-sponsors at risk of losing key seats on important committees-you may have noticed that Jim Cox is no longer on the Finance Committee.

What we are trying to do is a radical departure from the status quo.  We are completely eradicating the School Property Tax and replacing it with an alternative funding source.   This isn’t simply the elimination of the School Property Tax, this is completely changing how we fund education in the sate.  It also does something we’ve never done before: Completely capping education spending to the rate of inflation without some gimmick that allows them to work around it.    It’s not the type of legislation they are used to. 

There is something else they aren’t used to.  A grassroots movement has been behind this effort that isn’t being pushed or funded by some huge campaign greasing political machine.  I happen to be of the mindset that this is what people like Rep. Turzai and Rep. Benninghoff fear the most.   They aren’t fighting us so much on the principle of Property Tax Independence (after all you may recall that Benninghoff once led in such an effort), they are fighting us because the legislation came from us and through us and we have managed to push this forward with darned little press and absolutely no help from some political machine.  We created our own press.  We published our own Letters-To-The-Editors and we took this out to our family, friends and neighbors.  The number of people who know about this bill have learned about it through us and that word spread while our newspapers, local news and radio went predominately silent on the issue.  That has changed and I’m grateful for the support we are now seeing in some of our media outlets.  But rest assured none of that would have happened without us and our sponsoring legislators’ pressure.

We also need to be aware that we are sacrificing the unfunded mandate ability of the legislative body.  The massive regulations on our school districts come to us from our legislators and through the appointed Departments, Agencies and Commissions.  Many of these regulations are designed to benefit certain factions and punish others….prevailing wage comes immediately to mind.  The pension crisis will now go back to Harrisburg, no longer being able to be pushed down on us through the local property tax.  Since the inequity of the 1991 funding formula will no longer work with the elimination of the property tax they will have to fix that problem as well.  We are taking away their privilege of going on the news and bragging about how they didn’t raise our state taxes while forcing them down to us through higher property taxes at the local level.  That is what they fear about the loss of local control.  It has nothing to do with concern for our loss of control over government at the local level and everything to do with their loss of control over us.

Every co-sponsor has had to consider these impacts on the status quo.  Our most recent co-sponsors have come on board at a time of aggressive opposition from their party leadership. 

Our opposition has developed a list of talking points that are so coordinated that they can not possibly be self originating.  They have been developed intentionally to hurt what we’ve accomplished and our opponents use them without explaining details to defend the talking points.  Each of those talking points can easily be shattered to pieces simply by pointing to the evidence to the contrary. In doing so we accomplish two things, first we expose the lies and deliberate misdirection and second we are explaining the legislation which leads to a more informed citizen.  That’s not a defensive move, that an offensive move that keeps the ball in our court.  Exposing both Grove’s Bill and Benninghoff’s Bill for the extortion rackets they are isn’t giving them the ball in my opinion so long as what we are doing is contrasting those bills to the benefits of HB and SB 76. 

We have come too far and we have worked too hard to foolishly allow them to control this dialogue to the point where we actually start believing their intentional attempts to divide us so we start eating our own.  If we do so they will win this fight but not by some glorious deserving victory but by our own surrender as a result of our own destruction.

As Jim points out, we’ve never been closer to the goal line. It’s time to get tight and get right and not be distracted by the size and the trick plays of the other team. It’s all about “execution” and total teamwork now. I hope you get involved and put this one, once and for all, in the WIN column for taxpaying Pennsylvania Citizens! Thanks Jim!

Dave Pool
Co-Coordinator, DBTA

PSEA Opposes HB 76 / SB 76 – The Property Tax Independence Act

August 21, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, Positive Economic Impact of The Property Tax Independence Act, PSEA / Teacher Union impact on property tax increases, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania | 4 Comments
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To our readers: The following letter was sent by a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to one of our Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations members. It was in partial response to reasons he had to not support HB 76. It was shared with me and I am going to present the letter here which PSEA claims that …”Only the individual sender is responsible for the content of the message, and the message does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.” The letter, which went out in early August is as follows:

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

PSEA on House Bill 76

In recent days you may have been contacted by members of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayers, who are asking you to sign on as a co-sponsor to HB 76. Before you do so, consider that the Property Tax Independence Act is a flawed piece of legislation that unfairly targets working class families, increases the tax burden on those who can least afford it and weakens your local schools. For these reasons, PSEA opposes this legislation and asks that you not lend your name or support to the proposal.

The concepts contained in House Bill 76 have been floating in the legislature for several decades, and they still fail to add up. The legislation, while purporting to solve the education funding crisis, would only serve to lock into place the current funding inequities and massive funding cuts of the past several years.

Beyond the aforementioned funding inequities, these proposals would have significant impact on average Pennsylvania taxpayers. The legislation would increase and expand the regressive Sales and Use Tax (SUT). As you may know, the SUT disproportionately impacts less wealthy households as a greater percentage of their income is dedicated toward paying this tax. This is particularly egregious given the fact that, under the bill, the sales tax would expand to cover basic necessities like food and clothing. At a time when Pennsylvania’s economy continues to struggle, it makes little sense to increase taxes on those with the least discretionary income. This will only serve to exasperate our economic divide and further slow job creation in the Commonwealth.

Even worse, this working class tax increase would occur at the same time commercial corporate properties will be provided with yet another tax break. In certain instances they will see tax reductions of hundreds of thousands of dollars on individual parcels. Once again, corporations will receive a massive tax break while working class families are asked to shoulder an even greater burden.

Notwithstanding the major deficiencies with this bill, PSEA does agree that school districts, on average, have been forced to over rely on property taxes. However, the answer is not a complete elimination of the tax, which would only serve to place 100% of the funding responsibility with the General Assembly. The answer is to implement a reasonable and equitable funding formula that will ease the burden currently imposed on certain homeowners across the state.

Please oppose House Bill 76.

If this letter is circulating to all members of the House, it is obvious that they may question HB 76 as the best way to fund and control public education spending in Pennsylvania. The letter, of course, is fraught with inaccuracies, deceptions and emotional appeals to not hurt the downtrodden, working middle class instead of presenting the factual base of the tremendous benefits available through HB 76 and its companion legislation in the Senate, SB 76 (combined known as The Property Tax Independence Act). The Act has spent over a year in formulation and is not only feasible but, according to current review by the Independent Fiscal Office, has benefits that make it worth consideration. The alternative taxes do not hurt working class families – especially those who own their own homes. There are still provisions for tax exemptions of some food and clothing items for those who are truly distressed. It does not weaken local schools – in fact it strengthens them in that they can spend the majority of their efforts improving education and not engaging in the yearly battle of the budget. The amelioration of business/commercial property taxes will move Pennsylvania up several notches from the bottom of states with friendly business climates and permit business to spend money on many things (including new employment opportunities?) instead of a direct handover of money in school property tax.

If you will go to this website – WWW.PTCC.US – and read the material presented there by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayers Associations, you will soon see that the FACTS of HB 76 and SB 76 actually solve all of the problems that this letter claims that the Act causes! The only part of the above letter with which we can agree is the last paragraph regarding “over reliance on property taxes”. But the author(s) haven’t even got that one right! “Easing the burden currently imposed on certain homeowners across the state implies a system of “relief” or “reduction” in property taxes. Well, we’ve seen how that’s worked out in the past. Every “relief” effort has produced minimum reductions in property taxes which local school board spending has sent back above what the relief provided in the first place (as in the ACT 1 “Homestead Act”). It seems House Leadership is currently backing HB 1189 — a totally worthless and deceptive attempt to do what’s always been done in the past; i.e. fool the public into believing that this “local relief effort” is the answer to their property tax woes!  We need across the board school property tax elimination and spending controls such that all school districts are funded to the level of their need and the public’s ability to pay – which is exactly what the Property Tax Independence Act does!

Please continue to support HB 76 and SB 76 through to the Governor’s Desk for signature this year!

Regards!

David Pool, Co-Coordinator

DBTA

Our “Summer E-Program” To Achieve School Property Tax Elimination.

July 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Posted in Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, Positive Economic Impact of The Property Tax Independence Act, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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As part of our efforts to achieve school property tax elimination/replacement, we’re conducting a special “Summer E-Program”.  Our aim is to  educate those in the Pennsylvania House and Senate who perhaps haven’t heard all the benefits of the Property Tax Elimination Act (HB 76 / SB76) or at least haven’t taken an in-depth look at what the Act can and will do for Pennsylvania’s citizens and economy.  We are going to make it possible for everyone to send a series of frequent, short emails to members of the House and Senate who have not signed on as co-sponsors of the Act, introducing them to just one beneficial aspect at a time.  Our hope is that, in this way, it will become easier to understand each benefit and begin to cause them to consider signing on with the 88 Representatives and 22 Senators who are already on board as co-sponsors.

Everyone, anywhere can participate.  You don’t have to be in the Daniel Boone Tax Activists or in the Daniel Boone School District.  This is a state wide issue and any citizen anywhere in Pennsylvania can address any representative or senator with their ideas and concerns about school property tax elimination / replacement.  In fact we encourage anyone reading and participating in this program to email friends and relatives across the State and encourage them to do the same.

This latest message is a little more more detailed than previous BUT PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING WE’VE PRESENTED BEFORE.  First, a single message goes to the House and Senate at the same time.  Second, IT ALLOWS YOU TO PERSONALIZE THE MESSAGE; NAMELY, THIS IS WHAT I AM TO PAY IN DIRECT SCHOOL PROPERTY TAXES AND HERE’S WHAT I WOULD HAVE SPENT THAT MONEY ON IF I DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY THOSE TAXES DIRECTLY (by paying for goods and services that would be taxed on the spend as you go method proposed by The Property Tax Independence Act (HB 76/SB  76)!  It’s your opportunity to “let it all hang out” to all elected officials currently not sponsoring or publicly supporting the Act!  You can bet that the special interest groups opposing the Act are doing this as well.  So the more information we can get in front of all of our elected officials, the better they’ll understand just how serious our resolve is about getting The Property Tax Independence Act passed!

It’s about as easy as anything we can think of. Click the link, below, to go to a page with a form that will go to all members of the PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES  and SENATE who currently have not co-sponsored HB 76/SB 76.  Fill in the text areas (there’s plenty of room even though the area’s look small).  Then, check the box indicating that you have read and agree with the message (as modified by you).  Finally, fill in your name, address, email and phone number (required to be taken seriously by elected representatives), and click SUBMIT.   The current message will go out on or after:

AUGUST 27, 2013

HOUSE And SENATE – I Am About To Pay My 2013-14 School Property Taxes!

As this date changes, we will change the links above to introduce a different form that will address another of the benefits that accrue from The Property Tax Independence Act.

Thanks in advance for your support.  Let’s work together to help our senators and representatives learn all they can about the Act and to let them know just how important the Act is to all of us.  I’d be grateful to anyone who wants to assist by writing a short, one topic message that will help us explain the Act and its importance to us.  Address any such messages to: nopropertytax101@gmail.com .

Dave Pool, Co-Coordinator; DBTA

WANTED: Answers and Action!

March 10, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Posted in Funding Education in Pennsylvania, H.B. 76 / S.B. 76 - Property Tax Independence Act, Positive Economic Impact of The Property Tax Independence Act, School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement, Skyrocketing Property Taxes in Pennsylvania | Leave a comment
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WANTED FOR QUESTIONING:

By Pennsylvania School Property Taxpayers

Box_Tom_Corbett

governor@pa.gov

Box_Sam_Smith Box_Mike_Turzai

shsmith@pahousegop.com                                mturzai@pahousegop.com

An “All-Points Bulletin” is hereby issued for these men for questioning in their role of the attempted demise of the Property Tax Independence Act (HB 76 / SB 76) and their failure to provide effective leadership on one of the most important issues facing Pennsylvanians – School Property Tax Elimination / Replacement.

Evidence:

Governor Tom Corbett never once mentioned “Property Tax Reform” nor listed it as a priority in his budget message to the joint Pennsylvania House and Senate in February, 2013.

Samuel H. Smith has done everything possible in the past to see that true school property tax reform (elimination/replacement) is locked up in committees so that it never sees the light of day for debate and vote before the full House of Representatives.

Mike Turzai, on Thursday, February 28th at a town hall meeting was reported as being arrogantly stating [of the Property Tax Independence Act] … “I don’t want it” … and … “I’m not doing it!”  Further, he seriously mis-represented the legislation, claiming that it would require a 9% sales tax and more than double the income tax rate to work [we know from the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) analysis of the legislation that this is absolutely untrue].  Then, when confronted with the IFO numbers and the report’s comments about the value this legislation would bring to Pennsylvania’s taxpayers and the state’s economy he reportedly said that he has no interest in the IFO analysis and that it means nothing to him.

WARNING:  All of these men are armed with the power to lead on the issue of real property tax reform but have, thus far, failed to use it!  If you see these men, APPROACH THEM AT ONCE AND ASK THEM THEIR REASONS FOR NOT WANTING TO PROVIDE THE PROPERTY TAX REFORM AND ECONOMIC STIMULUS FOR ALL PENNSYLVANIANS THAT THIS ACT WOULD PROVIDE.

Or, if you don’t see them, EMAIL THEM OR CALL THEM!  TELL THEM YOU WANT THEM TO SUPPORT THE ACT, TO BRING IT TO A FLOOR VOTE IN THE HOUSE AND THAT YOU EXPECT GOVERNOR CORBETT TO SIGN IT INTO LAW BEFORE SCHOOL PROPERTY TAXES AGAIN RISE AND CAUSE FURTHER ECONOMIC HARDSHIP ON PROPERTY AND BUSINESS OWNERS ALONE.  FURTHER, LET THEM KNOW THAT THE RISE IN PUBLIC SCHOOL COSTS, CURRENTLY ASSESSED ONLY TO PROPERTY AND BUSINESS OWNERS IS INEQUITABLY DISTRIBUTED ACROSS THE STATE AND IS UNSUSTAINABLE IF BORNE BY PROPERTY AND BUSINESS OWNERS ALONE!

For more [accurate] information, go to: www.ptcc.us

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