SB76 End Run Failure Explained

By Sen Scott Wagner SB76 End Run Failure Explained

After much debate and discussion on Monday in the Senate caucus, Senator Dave Argall later on the Senate floor offered an amendment to House Bill 683 that contained language that was similar to the language in Senate Bill 76.

The amendment was voted on by the full Senate – the vote was 24 – yes votes ( 18 Republicans – 6 Democrats ) and 24 – no votes ( 12 Republicans – 12 Democrats)  – Lt. Governor Stack cast the tie breaking vote of no – so the amendment failed.

While the no vote might be viewed as a defeat – I see progress – # 1 – the issue of school tax elimination made its way to the Senate floor for a vote – I personally, along with other Republican Senators, had many unanswered questions but I voted yes to get the ball on the field – I give our Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman credit for allowing the amendment to the Senate floor for a vote – # 2 – I am reaching out to many of the Republican Senators who voted no to ask what their concerns and reasons for voting no were.

The reasons for the no votes by some of my Republican colleagues are understandable and deserve a chance to be addressed.

Some of the reasons I heard from my colleagues who voted no on the bill were as follows:

– No cost containment is taking place in the schools – increasing wages and benefits, not tied to CPI Index
– Cannot support raising the sales tax to 7% when their Senate district borders Delaware where there is zero sales tax
– Issues with how the funds controlled by the state would flow to their school districts

Another large issue is the current “Hold Harmless” agreements– this means no school district would receive less funding next year than they received the previous year – some school districts are receiving $8-10,000 per student and some districts receive $20-25,000 per student – we need to completely rework the funding formula.

I am fully aware of the school property tax burden on many working families – I am also a private sector business owner.

When I received the tax rates proposed in the amendment on Monday I did a back of the napkin calculation of what the increased personal income tax and sales tax would cost my company and me – the result would be a minimum of  $200,000 per year (personal income tax and sales tax) – I am watchful of how the new taxes that are intended to eliminate school taxes on real estate would also impact businesses.

My calculation for the increased taxes my company and I would pay are the gross taxes that would apply –  we would see eliminated school taxes of approximately $60,000 on our various properties, which I would deduct from the additional taxes, but at the end of the day the increased tax impact would be in the $140,000 per year range – I am also aware that any additional sales tax that my business would pay would be deducted as a business expense and would reduce our federal tax liability.

For readers who understand different tax categories, my company is a Sub-S Corporation so pass through income would be taxed at the higher rate.

I can assure you of this point –  the “Property Tax Ball” is out on the field and is not going away – until it gets resolved.

This past April I circulated a memo proposing a piece of legislation called the “Taxpayer Fairness in Compensation Act” asking for co-sponsors.

Sen. Wagner represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

SB76 End Run Failure Explained

Black Friday Name Origin Joseph P. Barrett

Black Friday Name Origin Joseph P. Barrett
Joseph P. Barrett, the man who gave us “Black Friday”.

Black Friday, in reference to the day after Thanksgiving, was first used in a 1951 article  in the trade publication Factory Management and Maintenance” and concerned the habit of employees calling in sick the day after the holiday to get a four-day weekend.

The article by M. J. Murphy  recommended just making the day a paid holiday.

However, the term’s use as a day of shopping chaos has a Philadelphia root, the popularization of which can be squarely placed on the shoulders of Joseph P. Barrett and Nathan Kleger, who were police reporters with the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.

Philadelphia traffic squad cops had been using the phrase to describe the massive Center City traffic jams that occurred the day after Thanksgiving. Kleger and Barrett wrote a front-page piece circa 1960 in which they appropriated the phrase. The paper in ensuing years continued with the phrase and local TV soon joined.

And then the nation.

Black Friday Name Origin Joseph P. Barrett

William Lawrence Sr Cryptowit 11-25-15

William Lawrence Sr Cryptowit 11-25-15

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Answer to yesterday's William Lawrence Sr Cryptowit quote puzzle: History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. Alexis de Tocqueville Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing ye to the Lord and bless his name: shew forth his salvation from day to day. PsalmsAnswer to yesterday’s William Lawrence Sr Cryptowit quote puzzle: History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.
Alexis de Tocqueville


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Damian Romay Manifesto

Damian Romay sent us this missive — in English and Spanish — on Nov. 4, about how evil corporate forces at a company called Caribevision stole America Teve and his family’s legacy. Things are kind of slow right now on the local scene, this is not the Turko-Russian border, after all, so here it is.Damian Romay Manifesto

By Damian Romay

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel

Sixty million dollars. I kept doing the math in my head thinking there must be something wrong. According to seven ordinary citizens who are sitting right in front of me with blank expressions on their faces as if waiting in line at the supermarket, my dad has to pay his business associates sixty million dollars. How is this possible?
This Kafkaesque situation originated several years ago when my grandfather, a man who came from nothing and became a television pioneer in Argentina, purchased an interest in a small local TV station in Miami. Eighteen years ago, my father, who grew up in the TV industry, took over this tiny station and began catering to the Cuban American population of South Florida that was mostly being ignored by the big Spanish Language Networks whose focus was on the west coast audience.

The station known as America Teve, canal 41, became a huge success, growing to over three hundred employees, and producing over forty hours a week of journalistic and entertainment programming that at times challenged Univision and Telemundo for the top rating spots. We also served the Community by uniting families, creating job fairs, helping new immigrants that came here with nothing, and handing out food, school supplies, and other goods in times of need.

Many other local stations popped up trying to copy America Teve’s model, stealing our homegrown talent and fighting for the same advertising dollars, but none were able to defeat us. One such station formed by powerful Spanish and Mexican investors called Caribevision was such a colossal failure that it had lost almost one hundred million dollars in just a few years. In 2009, the owners of Caribevision came to see my dad to sell him their stations for fifteen million dollars. My father didn’t have the money, but he was excited about the prospect of growing into a small regional network and he was also afraid that one of his competitors might jump at the opportunity, so he came up with a plan. He offered Caribevision a fifty fifty partnership in which my father would run the operations of the company, and where the Joint Venture would assume a ten million dollar loan payable in 2017. Additionally, my father would loan them up to five million dollars to pay off their other debts until the time the deal was closed.

The Caribevision people accepted the deal and that is where my father’s worst nightmare began. The bank who held the ten million dollar loan didn’t accept the 2017 deadline and they called the loan. Caribevision who according to the agreements had to find a replacement loan didn’t and instead they initiated a lawsuit against my dad.

During the six years of the “joint venture” between America Teve and Caribevision, the Caribevision partners made it practically impossible for my father to run he company, questioning every decision he made, boycotting every board meeting, and never contributing a single cent to the enterprise. Not only that, but my father had to pay the station’s main cable provider almost two million dollars that Caribevision owed from their previous venture to avoid getting kicked off the air. Additionally, a court in Puerto Rico ordered the joint venture to pay a million dollars to a Caribevision employee whose contract was violated by Caribevision. My dad had to sell a company he had in Argentina, sell his house in Argentina, get a second loan on his mortgage, and borrow money, just to keep the company running. And to top it all off, he never paid himself a salary or bonuses, and Caribevision never paid my dad back for the loan he gave them.

So, what benefit did my dad receive from having to take care of the obligations his partners neglected? What damage did the Caribevision partners suffer for all these decisions my dad made? According to the six people of the jury, sixty million dollars.
You must be thinking I’m leaving something out. I can understand that someone could be punished for stealing but why would someone be penalized for lending money to keep a company alive? Where does the sixty million number come from? There has to be more to the story, but unfortunately there is not. I worked in America Teve since the beginning, I saw every monthly balance, I read every agreement, I participated in every board meeting, I was there when my dad inaugurated the building in honor of my grandfather, and when he hired all of the employees, and no matter how Caribevision’s attorney’s spin it, no matter how these six people in the jury see it, and no matter how an inexperienced judge who in her own words, “tried” to be impartial but clearly failed, rules in this case, I know the truth. Today an incredible injustice has been done. One of the Caribevisión partners summed it up best when he said on the witness stand, “What is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine.”

If this decision isn’t overturned my dad will have to file for bankruptcy, he will lose the station my grandfather founded, the station which he dedicated almost twenty years of his life and all of his money to, more than three hundred employees, myself included, will probably lose their jobs, Miami will lose it’s number one local TV station, and a bunch of greedy foreign investors will get their way.

But I know my dad. He will fight to turn this decision around because that is who he is, that is what he learned from his father and that is what he has taught me. Never back down, learn to overcome every obstacle life throws in your way and never lose faith. I am not a lawyer nor a judge, I am just a humble writer, and as such all I can do is set the record straight for the world to see.

Damian Romay Manifesto

Food Collection At Holy Myrrh-Bearers

Food Collection At Holy Myrrh-BearersHoly Myrrh-Bearers Eastern Catholic Church will hold its Annual Holiday Food Collection  is collecting food for the local needy through  Dec.  13.  Those wishing to donate  canned or boxed, non-perishable food items should bring them to the church, 900 Fairview Road, Swarthmore Pa.,  19081,  on any Sunday between 9 a.m. and noon or use the convenient drop-off box at the entrance to the Educational Center during the week.

Food Collection At Holy Myrrh-Bearers


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