Delco Patriots To Meet March 24

The Delaware County Patriots, the county’s Tea Party group, will meet 7 p.m., Thursday, March 24 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 327 N. Newtown Street Road (Route 252), Newtown Square 19073.

Speaker is Paul Linkmeyer who will explain the importance of committee seats.

Bring a friend. Reservations are not necessary.

Answering Tea Party Objections to SB 1


Ed Note: According to Tea Party activist Teri Adams, the question and answers noted below were from the newsletter of the Unite PA, Lancaster and are not intended to reflect a “Tea Party” consensus.

 

Citizen’s Alliance for Pennsylvania has written a response to the objections of some Tea Party groups to SB 1, which is the pending school choice legislation in Pennsylvania.  After Sunday’s debate hosted by The Independence Hall Tea Party Association, however, it seems many of the concerns are moot matters as there is very little Tea Party opposition in principle to school choice and that the objections to SB 1 involve simply scope and mechanics which are likely to be addressed when the bill gets to the House.

 

For instance, Chris Freind, one of the most vocal and articulate critics of SB1, said Sunday that he didn’t think the bill — even as is — would be found to be unconstitutional and would likely save the taxpayers money.

 

So let’s get the bill out of the Senate and into the House, and shine it into a gem and save all the children from the burning building to use Pastor Joe Watkins analogy.

 

Anyway hat tip Bob Guzzardi for  the CAP response which follows:

 

 

Answering TEA Party Objections to SB 1

Several TEA Party groups in Pennsylvania have banded together
to declare opposition to SB 1, listing their grievances with the
legislation.  While their heart is in the right place, their reasons for
opposing SB 1 have flaws. Herewith, a point-by-point refutation:

1. TEA Party Objection: Is SB 1 constitutional?
PROBABLY NOT but the state will find a way to subvert the constitution
by funneling money through the General Fund and using case law to defend
its premise.  Article III, Sec 15.

Rebuttal:  To which constitutional attorneys should we turn to
answer this question: PSEA labor union attorneys or the premier
conservative/libertarian public interest law firm, the Institute for
Justice, and their Pennsylvania partners?  The latter have directly
testified to the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1.   

In short, the Pennsylvania State Constitution states, “No money
raised for the support of the public schools of the Commonwealth shall
be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school.”
State General Fund revenue does not meet this definition as it is not
raised for the purposes of funding public education.  School district
property taxes are raised for this purpose and that is why Senate Bill 1
involves only state funding for private schools, and not local tax
property revenue.

Pennsylvania case law
permits the transfer of funds to parents for the purposes of exercising
school choice.  In other words, because scholarships are given to
parents who then makes school choices, this money is not being given
directly to private schools. Furthermore, Pennsylvania’s General Fund
already includes line items directly funding private school students.

Finally, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will have jurisdiction
over any legal issues or concerns of constitutionality, though voucher
programs have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

2. TEA Party Objection: Does SB1 increase the size
and scope of government?  YES, there will be a new department acting
independently, hand picked by the Governor and accountable to
themselves.

Rebuttal: There is no new “department” being created, nor is it
unaccountable.  It will be an unpaid “Educational Choice Board” within
the Department of Education tasked with the responsibility of
implementing, administrating, and overseeing the $75 million EITC
program and the $25 million voucher program.  This neither increases the
size nor expands the scope of government but provides the vehicle
through which more choices will be given to more children trying to
escape the public school system.

3. TEA Party Objection: Does SB1 take property ($) from one person and give it to another without their consent? YES, ‘Vouchers’ will be provided to only low income families, of whom generally do not pay school tax.

Rebuttal: Do you currently “consent” to the $26 billion we spend
on the public schools today?  How about the $19,634 the taxpayers pay
for a public school kid in Pittsburgh?  And how much do families in
these failing school districts pay in taxes today for this massive
education subsidy?  Unless the TEA Party is advocating abolishment of
public education altogether, money is going to be taken from you for
that purpose; at least with SB 1, your tax money will bear portability
and flexibility, which will result in more efficient usage of it, which
in turn will result in savings to you.  

The reality is that taxpayers are already footing incredibly
expensive bills for failing schools and subsidizing low-income
families.  The question then is how do we stop funding failure and start
leaving that money with its rightful owners.  SB1 does this.

Not only does SB1 allow kids to use a voucher to find a better
school, it costs on a fraction of what we are currently paying for
failure.  In Harrisburg, where the taxpayers are paying $17,675 per kid
for failure, the voucher would be worth $8,498.  So a kid uses only half
as much taxpayer money to attend a better school.  This is good news
for the taxpayer.  Of course, it is now incumbent on the Harrisburg
school board to return the remaining $11,136 to its rightful owners—the
taxpayers.  And there is a much better chance of getting nine school
board members to return that money to its citizens than there is in
getting the 253 members of the General Assembly to do it.

SB1 is truly the antithesis of the concern inherent in this objection. 

4. TEA Party Objection: Is SB1 transparent and provide oversite? 
NO, the Education Opportunity Board reports directly to the Governor,
is appointed by the governor and accountable to themselves.

Rebuttal: Where is the lack of transparency and oversight?  The
Educational Choice Board is simply the manager of the legislatively
created program.  Where else and how would you do it differently?

5TEA Party Objection:  Will SB1
cause a reactionary increase in the cost of non-public
schools?  YES. SB1 will necessarily cause “bloated and more expensive
private education”.  How much does PA spend on higher education?
“State government spends nearly $2 billion annually on higher education. For the 2010-11 fiscal year, state spending is being maintained with the help of $249 million in federal stimulus money. But that spigot will be turned off in June 2011.”  Funding for Grants to Students has increased $55.7 million or 16 percent since 2002-03.   Higher
education provides a cautionary tale of how public subsidies can drive
up the cost of education. State legislatures and the federal government
have provided increasing subsidies to both public and private
universities for decades. The universities then use the subsidies to
spend more on salaries and programs, ultimately raising university
expenses and the call to raise tuition, generally answered with more
subsidies. Wringing their hands about a politically induced college
affordability crisis, politicians have continued to increase subsidies.
Lawmakers should be concerned that the same phenomenon could occur in
K-12 education. (In other words, the non-public schools would have NO
restraint in raising their tuition fees, making it more expensive for
EVERYONE – Why would they leave the money on the table – they won’t!).

Rebuttal: This is an “apples and oranges” analogy that ignores
what happens in a marketplace.  Higher education does not operate on a
portable voucher system and colleges do not have publicly elected school
boards that can control costs.  

Kids using vouchers in private
schools will make up only a fraction of the student body.  This means
that many more parents will be paying some level of tuition.  Any
“reactionary increase” would drive out paying customers—many of whom are
already subsidizing others who may be getting tuition assistance.
Indeed, if low-income students use vouchers—and are no longer in need of
receiving subsidized tuition by those paying the full tuition
rate—tuition could actually go down, rather than up.

6TEA Party Objection: Does the
SB1 Voucher Program treat all citizens of the Commonwealth equally?  NO,
only low-income families will benefit from the voucher program.

Rebuttal:  The current system doesn’t treat all citizens equally,
but SB1 does make sure that those who need immediate assistance most
get it.  A family of four, earning less than $29,000 would qualify.
Should the voucher be made available to everyone, regardless of income
or school district?  Absolutely.  But no bill has been introduced that
makes the voucher universal.

But SB1 also includes an important increase in the Educational
Improvement Tax Credit scholarship program, whereby a family of four
earning $84,000 would qualify to receive scholarships to attend their
school of choice.  This income level is nearly the double the statewide
average, and clearly benefitting a majority of school-age children.

7. TEA Party Objection:  Does SB1
invite government intrusion into the Private Sector?  YES, Section 2502,
(2) the non-public school is in full compliance with all Federal and
State laws.

SB1 does not require any private school to participate and submit
to any new rules included with the law.  It should be noted that the
Christian, Catholic, and evangelical schools have all been involved in
the crafting of SB1.  There is nothing that prevents the government form
intruding on private schools today.  Eternal vigilance is the price of
liberty, so we must always keep the wolves at bay.

8TEA Party Objection: Does SB1
address the root cause of the problem or identify the anticipated result
of the solution? NO, there is no mention of what is prompting this
bill.

Rebuttal: The root cause of the problem is the union monopoly of
public schools, kids and teachers.  The union runs our Communistic-type
system and it cannot be dismantled in one election cycle.  It would be
great to do this overnight, but the power and wealth of the unions is
too great today. We must undermine them piece by piece until we the
people can reclaim our tax money, our kids, and our schools.

School choice, even in small bites, is the key to prying off the
unions’ grip on our kids and schools.  They know it, and it’s why they
are spending millions to defeat SB1.  It is troubling, to say the least,
that liberty-loving folks don’t see this and aiding and abetting the
enemy in this fight.

9TEA Party Objection: Is the
General Assembly providing for the maintenance and support of a thorough
and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of this
Commonwealth?  APPARENTLY NOT because they have introduced SB1 to put a
Band-Aid on a corpse  This is a Big Government solution using tax payer
money reaching into the private sector, where zip code and economics are
being used to determine eligibility.

Rebuttal: So your solution is to keep funding the “corpse”?  As
demonstrated above, SB1 actually begins to REDUCE spending in the
government school system.  Instead of giving the failing system in
Harrisburg $17,675 per kid, the taxpayers would pay for a voucher of
only $8,498 to actually give the child an education.  We then have to
demand that the school board returns the remaining $11,136 to its
rightful owners—us.  How is this a “Big Government solution”?

10. TEA Party Objection:  Is
SB1 Vulnerable to lobbyists and special interests: Any system in which
the government rather than the consumer pays the bills is susceptible to
capture by special interests. Just as teachers’ unions consistently
(and successfully) lobby for higher educational spending to raise
teachers’ salaries, so government-funded vouchers would lead
private school organizations to band together and lobby for larger
vouchers. Since the school organizations would be organized on this
issue, and since parents and other taxpayers are generally not
organized, it is likely that vouchers would increase over time. How
these increases would compare to the rapid growth we have already
witnessed in public school spending is impossible to say. It is
worthwhile to note that when consumers
are responsible for paying
their own way, lobbying is no longer possible: the only way you can
lobby your own customers is to offer better services. This is why
competitive market prices are generally lower than public (government)
costs for similar services–existing private versus public schools are a
case in point.

Rebuttal: Government is always vulnerable to lobbyists and
special interests.  That’s why we need limited government and less
wealth redistribution.  SB1 moves us in that direction, not away from
it.  This is also why the lobbyists and special interests are OPPOSED to
SB1, not for it. 

11.  TEA Party Objection:  Is this a bailout for the
NON-public Schools?  YOU DECIDE. The Catholic School System has been
suffering from enrollment decline for over 10 years.  The Archdiocese of
Philadelphia has lost 34,462 students or about 34 percent of its total
school enrollment since 2001, according to figures provided by the Catholic Church.  Private school enrollment down:   http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2009/09/private_school_enrollment_stat.html

Catholic School Enrollment down:  http://www.ncea.org/news/annualdatareport.asp

Rebuttal: A bailout? Hardly.  The overwhelming majority of
private schools are guided by a mission to serve, not make a profit.
It’s the unions who are profiting from the current system that pays high
salaries, unaffordable pension benefits, and premium health care
programs—all at the taxpayers’ expense. By not enacting SB 1 and thus
allowing the current public school monopoly to continue, it is the
public schools and their unions we are propping up and bailout out.

12. Is there a Constitutional financial benefit right now in
SB1 for low to middle income Pennsylvania citizens for
homeschooling/cyber schooling/non-public schooling.
 Homeschool/Cyber
Schools are not included in the bill.  However, non public schools are.
If a family qualifies under the generous EITC program (Education Improvement Tax Credit) it
is possible to receive financial aid.  However, aid varies based on
the number of children in your household, your income and the non-public
school financial aid requirements that you are applying for.

Rebuttal: SB1 expands educational options for many, many
families.  It may not include everyone.  But it certainly isn’t
contracting anyone’s educational options but is an incremental
improvement that will begin busting up the labor unions’ monopoly of
school tax money, kids and teachers.

13. TEA Party objection: Is it the role of government to create competition in the private sector or public sector?  NO

Rebuttal: The problem is that competition is lacking in the
government education system.  SB1 brings more competition into the
current monopoly situation.  Again, this is why the PSEA/PSBA hegemony
is so vehemently opposed to SB1.  Government hates competition and this
is we the people imposing competition on it.

 



AFP Gives Lesson In Right Blogging


The first event of Sam Rohrer’s tenure as director of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) can’t be said to have gone off without a hitch but today’s 8-hour RightOnline Training Seminar ended as a major success.

The event was not held at the Valley Forge Convention Center as scheduled but at the adjacent  Radisson Hotel. A raging windstorms snarled roads throughout Southeast Pennsylvania causing the start to be delayed for late arrivals. Then, just as things got underway, power went out throughout Montgomery County putting, for a couple of hours, the proceedings in the dim glow of emergency lights and making the prepared PowerPoint presentations a moot endeavor.

Using the restrooms at the prestigious facility became a ad hoc cellphone flashlight adventure.

Still, the presenters, many of whose names are recognized throughout the nation, improvised and taught their lessons sans technology at the technology-oriented conference.

And the lights really were on for most the day.

Rohrer’s opening remarks were followed by ones from Steve Lonegan , the former mayor of Bogota, N.J. who ran against Chris Christie in 2009 Republican New Jersey Republican gubernatorial primary. Lonegan is the director of AFP’s New Jersey chapter.

“The once proud Democratic Party of my union grandparents has now become the Democrat Party of government workers,” Lonegan said referring to the turmoil that the Democrats and government workers are now causing by bizarre, angry demonstrations in Wisconsin, which are filled with violent imagery.

The first session of seminars followed with noted blogger Erick Telford giving a lesson on basic blogging and Rich Shaftan of Mountaintop Media giving tips on how to handle the press. They were followed by long-time journalist Trent Seibert of Texas Watchdog who described ways citizen-bloggers could do investigative reporting.

It was during Seibert’s talk that the power went out, ruining an elaborate visual display he said he had prepared. This  ironically occurred while he was  pointing out how bloggers caused major grief to Oscar/Nobel/etc. winner Al Gore by exposing his energy hypocrisy.

Still Seibert managed to convey that audits are often overlooked means of exposing government malfeasance that Tea Party activist would do well to mine. He cited several useful websites, including one capable of generating  Freedom Of Information Act letters, whose links AFP would be sending to event attenders.

In describing the new power of blogs, it was either Telford or Seibert who said that it was a Montana blogger who exposed the lies Dan Rather told shortly before the 2004 election regarding President Bush’s Texas Air National Guard Service.  The one who did the exposing was from Georgia and the site on which the exposing occurred was FreeRepublic.Com

With the power out, the agenda was rearranged with talks by Pennsylvania State Rep Jim Cox (R-129) and Lonegan coming next.

Cox noted a big difference between Gov. Tom Corbet and his predecessor Ed Rendell in that while Rendell would have a press conference at the drop of a hat, Corbett has been avoiding them. He said he hoped it was because Corbett was deliberately preparing a case to make to the citizens regarding his plans for the state. Cox said we will know on March 8 when he makes his budget address.

Cox said there were 98 new faces in the State House since 2007 and 110 since 2005 so the chance for real reform is good.

He said there has already been some significant rule changes. Uncontested resolutions — such as those honoring a Little League championship team — can now be voted on in bulk saving the legislators about an hour and a half a week. He also said bills are now going to be almost complete coming out of committee allowing more time to study them and less time for sneaky amendments.

Cox said he is concerned about various plans being aired to shrink the size of the legislature as this would result in representation that is much less responsive to the citizenry.

He said his crusade to abolish property taxes is advancing and a property tax relief caucus has formed in the House which now has 91 members.

Lonegan said that New Jersey led the nation in economic growth from 1776 to 1976. He said it’s now 48th. He said that while The Garden State’s property tax rate was the third highest in the nation by the 1960s it had neither a sales nor income tax. He said that  in 1966 tax a “temporary” sales tax strongly supported by the New Jersey State Education Association was passed to ease the property tax burden. The tax was made permanent in 1970 and raised to 5 percent. Six years later a income tax was added.

Lonegan said the rates continued to rise and that the state now has among the highest sales and income tax rates in the country and the highest property tax rate.

He said the NJEA is now pushing to consolidate school districts “to save money.”

The post lunch seminars featured Ethan Demme of Keystone Conservative talking about social media; Jennifer Stefano of Americans for Prosperity giving advice on the media skills for which she is noted; Telford describing the power of online video; and Shafton explaining how to interpret polling.

The day would down with a panel discussion  consisting of Demme, columnist Chris Freind and New Jersey blogger Rob Eichmann; followed by a talk by Guy Benson of Townhall.com

During the panel discussion Freind noted that he picks on both parties and described how he was harshly critical of Gov. Corbett’s $42 million plan to bail out Aker Shipyard. Lonegan chimed in that Christie just OK’d a $260 million bailout of an Atlantic City casino.

Benson encouraged all Tea Party people to stick to truth and the high road in dealing with their opponents despite the temptation to do otherwise regarding their hypocrisy concerning claims of desire for civil debate.

The event ended with a call by Lonegan for Pennslvania Tea Party members to pressure State House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-165) into letting HB 42 come to a vote. HB 42 — The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act — protects the rights of patients to pay directly for medical services, and it prohibits penalties levied on citizens and businesses for declining to participate in a particular health plan.


Tea Party Group To Train Candidates Sat.

American Majority Action is hosting a candidate/campaign manager training event, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5 in the lower level meeting room of the Marple Public Library, 2599 Sproul Road, Broomall, Pa. 19008.

The cost is $45 online or $35 at the door. It includes lunch and refreshment.

Luksik Talk To Delco Patriots Not Stopped By Storm

Luksik Talk To Delco Patriots Not Stopped By Storm — An impending snowstorm and a four-hour drive back to Johnstown kept conservative favorite Peg Luksik from her traditional mingle with the crowd but she still entranced a banquet room of Delaware County Patriots with her hour-plus talk of tips on dealing with elected officials.

Tonight’s meeting was at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Newtown Square which was a bit of a break for Peg since it was a half-hour closer to the the Turnpike than the Kings Mills in Aston where the meetings had been held. She said getting home took a priority this night since she was to meet her son who was on leave from the Navy.

The room was near full. It was reported that the night brought 35 new participants. So much for claims that passion was falling.

Mrs. Luksik said that politicians were people with feelings and that being nice to them was much better than ranting at them.

“You catch more flies with honey, than vinegar,” she said.

She said that meeting them at the district office is almost always more effective than trying to meet them in Harrisburg since there is much less competition for their time. She cited as example her interactions with Republican leader Mike Turzai, who is now majority leader. She said she gets much more time with him in his home office, which is in the 28th District in Allegheny County, than she does in Harrisburg.

She was quite high in her praise for Turzai.

Mrs. Luksik emphasized the importance of researching and understanding the issues before any meeting with an elected official. She also emphasized the importance of  accuracy and honesty. She cited several legislative battles that she won because her opponent was caught in bald lies.

She discounted the use of petitions and rallies. She said one of the most effective things an activist can do is a short, polite handwritten letter. She said thank you notes following a positive vote can be remarkably beneficial as can polite notes expressing disappointment following an undesired vote.

She emphasized the importance of attending municipal and school board meetings, a point made clear after her talk when it was revealed that Springfield activists squashed an expected tax hike in that town.

Mrs. Luksik gave an example as to how attending the small meetings made one knowledgeable and confident when dealing with officials in bigger arenas.

She emphasized the importance of teamwork and that nobody should be too proud to feel a job is beneath them.

“Everybody has to clean the bathrooms,” she said.

She talked about the importance of building bridges to political opponents and described how she managed to convince a group of Democrats the wisdom of making English the official language by reasonably describing the liberating benefits being required to learn it would grant those who don’t know it.

She did emphasize, however, the importance of not compromising on principles, and learning from failures.  She cited as an example the success homosexual activists have had over the last two decades.

Not that she was saying there was anything right about it.

Mrs. Luksik ended her talk by noting that America is founded on a specific belief that it is not government that is the ultimate authority, but God. She said that is the soul of America and that it is that soul for which we must fight.

The Delco Patriots will be having candidate and campaign manger training, Feb. 5, at the Marple Public Library.

Pre-registration cost will be $35, with a $45 cost for walk-ins.

Details should soon be available on the website.

Luksik Talk To Delco Patriots Not Stopped By Storm

Rep. Lawrence Nixes Pension, Per Diems

John Lawrence, the Tea Party Republican who beat incumbent Democrat Tim Houghton in November to represent the 13th District in the Pennsylvania House has declared that he will accept neither per diems nor pension.

“The citizens of Chester County are tired of rhetoric and are looking for action,” he said.  “If we are truly going to reduce the financial burden on taxpayers and get a handle on excessive state spending, then it is incumbent upon me as a lawmaker to lead by example.” 

 

Lawrence advocates replacing the current defined benefit plans for government workers with a defined contribution plan akin to the 401(k) of the private sector.

 

“Under the state pension system, if investment returns suddenly drop, as they have during the past few years, taxpayers are responsible for making up the difference.  The citizens of Pennsylvania should not be forced to fund the pensions of state legislators especially while many individuals have seen their personal retirement savings lose value,”  Lawrence said.

While the state’s pension policy is going to have a far greater impact on the lives of Pennsylvanians — the lame-duck bailout is estimated by Commonwealth Foundation to have a cost per household of  $1,360  per year
the $163 per diem policy for state legislators is a far more glaring example is what is wrong with government in the state.

Don’t forget these guys are already getting a base pay of close to $80,000, a great health plan and, of course, a pension to die for.

Lawrence had earlier said he will not accept the cost of living increase .

Hat tip to Bob Guzzardi.

Rep. Lawrence is no relation to the proprietor of this site.

Corbett Taps 2 Tea Partyers For Transition Team

Gov.-elect Tom Corbett has tapped Diana Reimer, a co-founder of the Philadelphia Tea Party Patriots and statewide coordinator for the national Tea Party Patriots organization, as a member of the Budget, Pensions and Revenue Committee of his transition team. He also picked Ana Puig, who co-chairs the Kitchen Table Patriots of Bucks County, for a spot on the teams’ Education Committee.

The transition team has 400 unpaid members serving on 17 committees.

Hat tip to Bob Guzzardi of LibertyIndex.Com .

Pileggi Stays To End In Lions’ Den

Pileggi Stays To End In Lions' DenPileggi Stays To End In Lions’ Den — Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Domenic Pileggi (R-9) entered the den that was Avondale Presbyterian Church, Dec. 2, to face about 130 lions associated with Chester County Tea Party groups. He answered generally unfriendly questions without getting flustered then stayed long after the event ended to field more.

The event was sponsored by Coalition for Advancing Freedom .

That’s not to say the questions were always answered completely or clearly.

Pileggi began with a description of what to expect in the next legislative session in which the Republicans will control the state house, senate and governor’s office.  He touched on redistricting which would apply to congressional seats and reapportionment which would pertain to state legislative seats. He noted that Pennsylvania is going to lose one congressman. He then went to describe the budget problems the state faces namely that it spends $28 billion while taking in $23 billion in revenue. He noted that Tom Corbett won the governor’s office on a no-tax pledge which was also taken by many winning legislators.

Expect cuts in spending.

Pileggi said that while Gov. Rendell was a major opponent of school choice Gov. Corbett will be a big supporter. He said to expect a major expansion of school choice, charter schools and related programs.

Pileggi said that the privatization of the state stores will be discussed. He said  Marcellus shale drilling will be a big part of the agenda.

Then came questions.

Several involved principles relating to state constitutional matters. Pileggi, in addressing one of them, said that when he votes it’s with the presumption that what he is voting for is in accordance with the state constitution. He noted that he receives few constituent comments regarding whether a particular bill is constitutional. Regarding  how the state’s unbalanced budgets don’t jibe with the constitutional requirement to have one, he pointed out that budget is based on projected revenue the projection of which, by law, comes solely from the governor’s office, which has quite a bit of leeway to fudge things. He noted in response to a question regarding how out  37 of the 68 House members who voted to call the pension bailout bill unconstitutional then went on to vote for the same bill, that what they were voting to call unconstitutional was a provision placed by the senate to provide for independent analysis of budget revenue projections.

Gossip wise he said several Republican senators carry a copy of the Constitution with them while in the Capitol citing by name Mike Folmer and John Eichelberger.

Pileggi said he kept his copy in his desk.

He took quite a bit of grief regarding the pension bailout and legislative and staff salaries.

It was noted that pension costs to the taxpayer will be rising from $500 million per year today to $6 billion in 2015 to $10 billion in 2030.

“We are here to tell you there is no institutional support from the taxpayers to support the existing scheme,” one man said.

Pileggi said that in the next legislative session the issue will be readdressed and he expects an attempt to turn the program into one of defined contributions for new hires. He noted that this will not help the present tax problem, and said that nothing could be done regarding the benefit for existing employees.

A man who had experience in dealing with pension issues in the private sector, however, challenged him on the matter. He told Pileggi that what normally happens is that the trouble plans are terminated and their assets are distributed to beneficiaries who are then placed in plans with defined contributions.

Pileggi asked to speak to the man after the meeting.

And he did.

Pileggi was confronted with the fact that there were 2,200 staffers for 203 house members and 900 staffers for 50 senators and more than 70 of them have salaries of over $100,000.

“We will reduce the number of staffers,” Pileggi promised. “Absolutely.”

Pileggi, when challenged, said his salary as majority leader was $110,000. He attempted to figure his pension but could not remember the formula. According to Commonwealth Foundation it would be 3.3 percent of his last year salary times years in office. Pileggi took office in 2002 so his pension would be $29,040 as of now.

“I’m not in the position for the compensation,” he said.

Regarding a question concerning teacher strikes, Pileggi said he was against the right for teachers to strike but thought that ending it might be complicated. It was pointed out that, that would not be case as most states do not grant teachers the right to strike and in Pennsylvania the teachers had no such right before 1970, a fact of which he seemed unaware. Pileggi said he would look into it.

He was asked by a union member if he supported “right to work” laws. These are laws that would prohibit requirements that one must be a union member to work at a plant organized by a union. Pileggi ducked it in a way that would give Sugar Ray Leonard a case of envy.

He said it was unfair to make a person pay union dues but it was wrong that a person not paying the dues should get paid the rate of a contract negotiated by the union.

He was asked what he thought of the Tea Party movement.

“I think the Tea Party is fabulous,” he said.

 

Pileggi Stays To End In Lions’ Den

 

An Evening With Newt

New Gingrich is coming to Bucks County courtesy of the Kitchen Table Patriots on Jan. 29 as part of its An Evening To Celebrate Restoring America.

The event runs 7 to 10 p.m. at the Washington Crossing Inn, 1295 General Washington Memorial Blvd., Washington Crossing, Pa. A VIP meet and greet starts at 6 p.m. Many victorious local and statewide candidates will be on hand as well.

Tickets are $150 per person and $250 per couple. For information visit TheKitchenTablePatriots.Org;  email TheKitchenTablePatriots@Gmail.com or call 215-534-1851.

Pa. Tea Party Ponders Opposing Expected Speaker

Rep. Sam Smith of the 66th District got the nod to be Speaker of Pennsylvania House at closed door meeting of the soon-to-be-in-control Republican caucus on Nov. 9 but the official vote comes Jan. 4 and it will be done in the open.

Bob Guzzardi of LibertyIndex.Com notes that if all Democrats and 11 Republicans vote against Smith, he will not get the job.

Smith was the man who submitted the infamous 2005 legislative pay-raise bill.

To his credit, though, he voted against the recently passed Gen Theft Pension Bailout Bill.

Tea Party favorite Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of the 12 District has asked that the Nov. 9 vote  be postponed until December so those members of 112-member Republican House Caucus who are new to Harrisburg could get a better feel of the personalities seeking the offices.

The state’s Tea Party movement is pondering a phone-bank crusade aimed at newly elected representatives encouraging them to vote against Smith, and other old guard Republicans tapped for top posts.