Planned Parenthood is ineffective at decreasing teen sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies. Actually, there is pretty good evidence that it makes things worse despite what one might hear from the group’s apologists.
Ask yourself why can’t a school district handle sex and health education itself? And while you are asking yourself that, ask how much Planned Parenthood is getting in tax money for its school-based clinics. The organization makes a whole lot of people very nice livings.
As Montgomery County’s watchdog and voice for the forgotten taxpayer, I have on multiple occasions exposed the Democrat Commissioners’ practices of catering to campaign donors, especially in the area of low-income housing.
My hope was that my shining a light on the shaded backroom governing practices of former Commissioner Josh Shapiro would put an end to politics as usual in Montgomery County.
However, since Commissioner (Val) Arkoosh assumed the role of chair of the board in November 2016 the practice of catering to campaign donors continues.
There comes a point where we can no longer dismiss these votes as isolated incidents and must call it what it is: A pattern and practice of raising taxes on county residents while awarding sweetheart deals to campaign donors.
In the past, the awarding of contracts to campaign donors was done mostly through the allocation of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds. However recently, Commissioner Arkoosh has been doing most of her catering through Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) which gives local taxing authorities the ability to give special tax provisions to a taxpayer for a limited period of time.
This is particularly concerning because Commissioner Arkoosh, with the help of former Commissioner Josh Shapiro who broke his no-tax pledge, has voted to raise taxes on the average county taxpayer every year she has been in office.
When looking at the most recent occurrence and then tracing back to prior votes, the facts speak for themselves:
At the meeting held June 15, 2017, Commissioner Arkoosh voted to award ELON Development Company, a development arm of the Altman Group of Companies, special tax exemptions for a low-income, senior housing project in Norristown.1 The developer, through another arm of the company, Glenside Partners, has made $1,000 in campaign contributions to Commissioner Arkoosh’s campaign committee, 2 $2,500 to the Shapiro/Arkoosh joint campaign account,3 and has given $1,000 to Former Commissioner Josh Shapiro’s campaign committee.4
At the meeting held February 2, 2017, Commissioner Arkoosh voted to award Developer Kevin Silverang special tax exemption for a project in the Borough of Hatboro.5 Kevin Silverang’s wife, Claudia Silverang has donated to $2,500 to the joint Shapiro/Arkoosh campaign account6 and a total of $14,500 to former Commissioner Shapiro’s campaign committee.7
Silverang is also the beneficiary of a sale/leaseback agreement in which the County sold its Human Services Building to Silverang for $17.5 million and then agreed to leaseback the building for $34.5 million in rent over the course of 15 years.8
At the meeting held December 1, 2016, Arkoosh voted to award Westrum Development Co. special tax exemptions as well as a tax forgiveness of $40,000 owed in County taxes (in addition to forgiveness of more than $750,000 in taxes owed to Norristown School District and Municipality).9 At that meeting, Michael Clarke, the Solicitor of the Norristown School Board, urged the Commissioners to vote for the project.10 Michael Clarke has donated $2,500 to Commissioner Arkoosh’s campaign account.11
These most recent examples are in addition to the other deals with donors which I exposed in the past. Along with this press release, I am including my previous releases that explain the catering to campaign contributors I brought to light last year.
Gale Loudly Objects To 2nd Consecutive Montco Tax Hike — Montgomery County, yesterday, Dec.15, approved a budget calling for an 11 percent tax hike over the strong objections of Commissioner Joe Gale who is the mandated minority Republican.
The hit to the citizens was even greater than last year’s 9.87 percent tax hike.
Yes, the budget includes a new tax category dedicated to fund Montgomery County Community College.
Montco will spend $409 million in 2017 which is $18 million more than this year. The average home owner will pay $66 more.
Chairwoman Valerie Arkoosh called Gale “irresponsible” for daring to object to the budget, while Commissioner Josh Shapiro — who will be Pennsylvania’s next attorney general — said failing to pass the hefty tax increase would require the county to cut (county) jobs, funding for the community college and reduce pension payments.
Gale responded by outlining $7 million in cuts that would eliminate few jobs, keep spending to this year’s level and eliminate some contracts with favored consultants leaving the majority red-faced.
They passed the budget anyway, however.
The people of Montco are not stupid. Someone in government that is not a quiet lapdog but loudly warning the people of what is being taken from them could actually cause a change in power.
That would be nice.
Gale Loudly Objects To 2nd Consecutive Montco Tax Hike
Montco Trick Budget Via Community College Scam — Minority Republican commissioner Joe Gale, Dec. 1, revealed a twisted scam in Montgomery County’s 2017 budget that would sneak in a major new burden on the taxpayer by shifting funding for the county community college.
The county had been funding the college — $18 million last year — through the operating budget. Montco’s 2017 budget calls for a community college tax that would cost Montco tax payers additional $22.3 million.
The $18 million from the operating budget would go to other things.
Gale started his revelation with the taxes imposed by Democrat majority in the year since Joe won election.
“I have seen my Democrat colleagues do money grab after money grab and enough is never enough,” he said.
He noted that just before he was sworn in commissioners Valerie A. Arkoosh and Josh Shapiro passed a 9.87 percent increase on Montco property owners generating over $18 million in new revenue.
“But that wasn’t enough,” he said.
He said in February in they increased health inspection fees on Montgomery County businesses with a built in 2 percent over three consecutive years.
“But that wasn’t enough,” he said.
He said that in September they increased the vehicle registration fees on car and truck owners in Montgomery County generating $3.5 million in new revenue.
“But that wasn’t enough,” he said. “They are now doubling taxes on those visiting Montgomery County by increasing the hotel tax by 100 percent.”
Gale said that since new property taxes are off the table, due to last year’s hike, the Democrats “need to find a new way to get more of the people’s money.”
And they have with a proposed community college tax.
“Let’s be honest about what this really is, this is a trick budget,” he said. “The Democrats are doing what they always do. Increasing taxes and government spending while pretending all the money is going to our schools and students. This so-called community college tax is taking an additional $22.3 million out of the pockets of county homeowners and my Democrat colleagues will tell you that all that money is going to fund the community college but don’t be fooled.”
Gale said that less than one-fourth of the revenue generated from this tax is actually new funding for the college. He said that in previous budgets money for the college was taken from the county’s operating budget which was $18 million last year.
He said the new tax shifts money from the county to the taxpayers as a new burden.
“Meanwhile county spending increases by $18 million,” he said.
After this revelation, Gale blasted Shapiro — who recently won the office of state attorney general — calling him out on things ranging from broken campaign promises to catering to special interests and campaign donors.
He cites specifics.
Here is a video of Gale’s comments. The part regarding Shapiro starts at the 2:46 mark and is worth watching.
Gale Spanks Smug Shapiro In Montco — Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale is proving himself to be what we need in government.
Gale is the mandated minority Republican on Montco’s Democrat-controlled Board of Commissioners.
He won election against the wishes of party leaders. He was unwilling to go along to get along in party politics and he’s doing same in county governance.
Gale last month revealed an apparent pay-to-play scheme regarding the North Hills Manor public housing project in Upper Dublin. He also noted that he wasn’t getting information about proposed legislation until just before the scheduled votes and criticized the well-paid county department heads.
Board Chairman Josh Shapiro tried to smugly give him a spanking at the Oct. 6 meeting. Gale took the switch from his hand and wiped the smirk right off the power-broker’s face.
Joe Gale, who is mandated minority member of the Montco commissioners, revealed this week that Race Street PAC, which is the political action committee for Pennrose, contributed $5,000 to the joint campaign of Valerie Arkoosh and Josh Shapiro. Ms. Arkoosh and Shapiro comprise the county Board of Commissioners Democrat majority. Shapiro has received a further $3,250 from the PAC since 2010.
Shapiro dismissed the connection claiming he merely wants to help the poor.
Last year the CAP PAC made its first major foray into county politics and it just paid dividends for residents of Montgomery County. In his race for Commissioner, Joe Gale ran as an unabashed conservative. Earlier this week Commissioner Gale took a vocal stand for those principles and saved his constituents $3.5 million.
Due to a law passed in 2013, Pennsylvania currently has the highest gasoline taxes in the country. That same law contained a provision allowing counties to enact a $5 registration fee for vehicles. Seeing an easy source of revenue, Gale’s Democratic colleagues were set to extract more money from Montgomery County taxpayers. That plan was derailed when Joe brought media attention to the pending vote. Unlike his Republican predecessor, who would “go along to get along”, Gale went to the public to make sure they were aware of the tax increase.
There is a great deal of similarity between what is happening in Montgomery County, and what typically happens in Harrisburg. Rather than looking at how to save money, elected officials enact a new fee or tax and take the money from their constituents. In this instance, the $5 per vehicle fee would purportedly go to “infrastructure” projects. While infrastructure is arguably one of the few legitimate services government should provide, taxpayers are not getting the most for their money.
As Commissioner Gale points out, and we have been talking about for years, infrastructure and other construction projects are subject to wage controls that force taxpayers to overpay for labor. These wage controls come in two basic types, an artificially calculated “prevailing wage” and project labor agreements (PLA’s). Both of these wage controls benefit organized labor and PLA’s also exclude nonunion contractors from the bidding process.
Eliminating prevailing wage and PLA’s would drastically decrease the cost of public projects and make tax dollars go much further. However, it is politically easier for elected officials to take more money from taxpayers than it is to take on organized labor.
We applaud Gale’s willingness to stand up for taxpayers. His actions tell us that the CAP PAC made a good investment in his candidacy.
Republican Values Mean Boom For All — The Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch earlier this month attributed an economic boom in Montgomery County to tax-subsidized development in Lower Merion.
Retired businessman Bob Guzzardi points out in the below article that the growth in Montco is not coming from government-funded projects in Democrat Lower Merion but from free market policies in Republican-controlled King of Prussia, Hatfield and Lower Moreland.
By Bob Guzzardi
Do Republican values and Republican governance lead to prosperity for all as well as more taxes to pay for necessary government services and infrastructure? Empirically, the real world says “yes”. King of Prussia, Hatfield and Lower Moreland are governed by Republicans and they are growing.
I would think that Republican officeholders and those seeking office would want to make the case that Republicans governance means a higher standard of living.
It would seem to me that Republicans would be promoting themselves as the party of growth providing jobs with industrial projects and shopping centers/malls and which generate the tax revenue to build and maintain infrastructure and finance necessary government services.
Upper Merion is Republican, is it not? And the fastest growing municipality in MontCo, it seems. Hatfield is Republican, is it not? How many of these projects are built by free market, competitive contractors, that is, non-union contractors.
Of the 4,089 proposed units, how many were in Republican municipalities? My point is to make the case that in the real world, it can be empirically verified that Republican values work. Democratic Lower Merion is in decline; Republican Upper Merion and King of Prussia are growing raising their standard of living for everyone and creating jobs. So is Lower Moreland and Hatfield.
One of Lower Merion’s biggest projects, the Dranoff project, had to be subsidized and unionized.!
Democrats escaped Democratic (and union controlled) Philadelphia to Republican Lower Merion and, instead of embracing Republican ideas, they imposed a regime of more taxes, more spending and more debt. Lower Merion is in decline. It is shabby and down scale.
Montco Dem Activist Allegedly Took Boy’s Photo In Restroom — A Lansdale man has been charged by Orange County, Fla., with one count of felony video voyeurism against a child younger than 16 years of age for taking a photo of a young boy in a restroom stall at Walt Disney World on Aug. 2 The charge was duly reported by NBC10. Certain things, however, were left out that one is confident would otherwise would not have been if things had not been just a tad different — namely his political affiliation.
The accused, Joseph M. Cionzynski, 59, you see, is active with Friends of Lansdale, a left-leaning political action committee that supported the Democratic Party establishment against a couple of of party mavericks, according to RedState.com, which notes that he is also works for the National Labor Relations Board.
Cionzynski allegedly placed his cell phone under the stall and took several photographs of the boy, age 8, who was sitting on the toilet. The boy saw what was occurring and ran from the room crying. He got his mother and the two re-entered the room where the boy was able to identify Cionzynski by his shoes.
Cionzynski voluntarily turned the phone over to a sheriff’s deputy who did not find pictures of the child but did find two pictures of adult genitalia. The phone was seized and Cionzynski was given a trespass warning but not arrested. Investigators later found pictures of the boy, however, according to BayNews9.com.
An arrest warrant was issued Aug.15 and Cionzynski was arrested in Montco for extradition.