Prevailing Wage Ban All Gain No Pain

Prevailing Wage Ban All Gain No Pain — President Trump minutes ago signed significant reforms that he points out will significantly improve our health care system while costing the taxpayer nothing.

Sort of like what would happen if Pennsylvania repealed its prevailing wage law.

The 1961 law  requires labor cost to be be paid at a rate set by the state for most public construction projects.

It is estimated  to increase the cost of these projects by 20 percent.

In other words, a new high school costing $150 million under the prevailing wage law would cost $120 million without it. In other words all gain and no pain just by crossing out some words on a piece of paper.

Are you listening Springfield residents? Alex Charlton? Tom McGarrigle?

Prevailing Wage Ban  All Gain No Pain

Prevailing Wage Ban All Gain No Pain

 

Property Tax Referendum Explained

Property Tax Referendum Explained  — The Republican State Committee has distributed an explanation of the Nov. 7 ballot question on whether school districts may exempt homes from property taxes.

We are republishing it. Hat tip Donna Ellingsen.

Chairman’s Update

Dear State Committee Members:

This November, there will be a referendum on the ballot that could shape the future of Pennsylvania’s property tax system. Below I have included a research packet with information of the referendum along with background references.

The referendum, which would amend the PA Constitution, could allow for significant reductions in property taxes. I encourage you to education your voters about this referendum and to use this as an opportunity to bring conservative voters to the polls, which will help our whole ticket.

As always, please reach out to me with any questions or comment.

Sincerely,

Val

Research Packet | 2017 Property Tax Ballot Referendum 

TOP LINE: A November ballot question will ask voters whether local taxing authorities should be able to exempt residents from paying property taxes on their homes.

What would the ballot question do?

Nothing would change immediately if the ballot question passed in November.

  • School districts, counties & municipalities would have the option to exempt taxpayers’ primary residences from property taxes.
  • Note: commercial and industrial properties would still be taxed if a local government or school district enacted the exemption.

Under current law,  taxing authorities can choose to exempt taxpayers from paying up to 50 percent of the median assessed value of all homes.

  • The proposed change would expand that exemption, making it possible for local governments to exempt ALL taxpayers from paying ANY property taxes on their primary residence.

The official text of the ballot question:

“Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to permit the General Assembly to enact legislation authorizing local taxing authorities to exclude from taxation up to 100 percent of the assessed value of each homestead property within a local taxing jurisdiction, rather than limit the exclusion to one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead property, which is the existing law?”

Why is the ballot measure being championed by lawmakers? 

As reporter by the Philadelphia Inquirer:

  • Rep. David Maloney, R-Berks, who sponsored the bill that created the ballot question, said he receives weekly — and sometimes daily — complaints about property taxes from his constituents, especially those who are retired and live on fixed incomes.
    • “I had an elderly lady walk into my office unexpected,” he said. “She pulls out her property tax bill out of her pocketbook and said, ‘Sir, I can no longer pay this. Do you know how to help me?’ ”

Background information of property taxes:

  • In Pennsylvania, systems in place for property assessments and distributing school funding have sparked additional complaints about the real estate tax system.
  • Currently, property owners pay tax rates set by their county, school, and municipal governments.
  • FACT: School taxes account for the largest share of property-tax bills, and Pennsylvania’s school-funding system has long been criticized.

How do Pa. property taxes compare with other states’?

Statewide, property tax collections account for about 30 percent of local and state tax revenue, according to a study by the Tax Foundation.

  • Our tax rates are among the HIGHEST in America; Pennsylvania homeowners pay, on average, 1.46 percent of their home value in taxes, according to another Tax Foundation report, which ranks the state 10th nationwide for the highest effective tax rate. New Jersey, by comparison, has the highest effective tax rate of any state, at 2.44 percent.
  •  ***Pennsylvanians pay about $14 billion a year in school property taxes alone***

Opposition:

Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials

  • Jay Himes, Executive Director

Mr. Himes has said his group thinks the option to eliminate property taxes for primary residences is a good idea — as long as a sound revenue replacement is found.

  • But Mr. Himes and his association strongly oppose the Property Tax Independence Act and efforts to eliminate the school property tax. Under that bill, school districts would continue charging for property taxes to cover their existing debt until it is paid off, and county and local property taxes would remain the same. That would lead to even more unequal payments for homeowners depending on their school district, Mr. Himes said, and would not be total elimination of the tax.

School officials also oppose the loss of local school board control over education funding under proposals to eliminate the school tax.

  • “We don’t have a perfect tax system in place for school districts and we haven’t had one for decades,” Mr. Himes said. “It, however, is an inordinately complex and difficult issue because otherwise we’d of had a solution by now.”

Events on the horizon:

If the ballot measure is adopted by Keystone State voters, the legislature would need to find alternative sources of revenue before taxing authorities could move forward with enacting property tax exemptions.

Advocates for the Property Tax Independence Act say that the referendum could help them achieve the elimination of school property taxes.

  • Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill, is the prime sponsor of that effort, which has attracted support from both Democrats and Republicans. It was defeated after Lt. Gov. Mike Stack broke a tie vote on it in 2015.
  • As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer:
    • Mr. Argall said he is open to amendments to his bill, which still lacks enough votes to pass. If the measure passes this fall, for example, he could amend his bill to eliminate school property taxes only for primary residences rather than all properties.
      • “It gives us more flexibility,” Mr. Argall said of the ballot question. “I believe it helps us to build some additional support for the concept across the state.”

 

Property Tax Referendum Explained

Property Tax Referendum Explained  -- The Republican State Committee has distributed an explanation of the Nov. 7 ballot question on whether school districts may exempt homes from property taxes.

Anti-Vote Fraud Bill Advances; Charlton, Bucks Reps Nays

Anti-Vote Fraud Bill Advances Or Alex Charlton, What’s Up? — A commonsense anti-vote-fraud bill overwhelming passed the Pennsylvania House, Sept. 26, and is now before the state Senate.

The bill no longer restricts poll watchers to their county of registration allowing them to monitor anywhere in the Commonwealth.

The vote was 106 to 91. Naturally, every fraud-dependent Democrat present — three weren’t there — voted against it,  but strangely so did 13 Republicans including Alex Charlton of Springfield (165), James Santora of Drexel Hill (163); and Bucks County reps Gene DiGirolamo  (18), Bernie O’Neill (29), Marguerite Quinn (143), Craig T. Staats (143),  Katharine M. Watson (144) and Scott Petri (178).

So what’s up with that Alex Charlton? More interestingly what’s up with that Bucks County? What all do you have to be afraid of?

 

Anti-Vote Fraud Bill Advances Or Alex Charlton, What’s Up?

Anti-Vote Fraud Bill Advances Or Alex Charlton, What's Up?

 

 

SB-76 Topic Of Delco Town Hall Sept. 14

SB-76 Topic Of Delco Town Hall — HB/SB-76 — also known as the Property Tax Independence Act — will be the subject of a Town Hall, 7 p.m., Sept. 14, at the Marple Library, 2599 S. Sproul Road, Broomall, Pa. 19008.

The bill will eliminate all property tax funding for schools — with some exceptions for districts with long-term debt –and replace it by increasing the state sales tax 1 percentage point and the state income tax 1.88 percentage points.

Details will be discussed at the town hall or visiting the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition website PTCC.us.

Delco Townhall ad for Sep 14th

SB-76 Topic Of Delco Town Hall on Sept. 14

SB-76 Topic Of Delco Town Hall

 

Property Tax Amendment On Nov. 7 Ballot

Property Tax Amendment On Nov. 7 Ballot — An amendment to Pennsylvania’s constitution will be up for approval, Nov. 7, that may make debate about a state-wide ban on school property tax moot if it should pass.

Ending the property tax as a means of funding schools has been on the legislative agenda since at least 2012.  The bills have been called the Property Tax Independence Act and have had the number 76 in their name.

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. David Maloney (R-130), would change Article VIII of the state constitution to allow local taxing authorities to exclude from taxation an amount based on the assessed value of homestead property.

Existing law now caps the exclusion at 50 percent.

Implementation would require the General Assembly to pass enabling legislation to establish guidelines for local jurisdictions to follow if the amendment should pass.

Property Tax Amendment On Nov. 7 Ballot

Property Tax Amendment On Nov. 7 Ballot

Tom Cotton Backs Paul Mango For Pa. Gov.

Tom Cotton Backs Paul Mango For Pa. Gov. — Noted truth-teller Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) will be appearing with Paul Mango at a July 28 light-lunch fundraiser at AmVets Post 19 in Lancaster. Mango is among the Republicans seeking to replace Gov. “Big Bad” Wolf in  2018.

Tickets are $50. For information call Savannah at 717-779-3197.

Tom Cotton is the real deal and gives Mango a lot of credibility. Others seeking the nomination might want to reconsider pushing legislation giving strange men the right to share private spaces with little girls.

Just sayin’.

Tom Cotton Backs Paul Mango For Pa. Gov.

 

Tom Cotton Backs Paul Mango For Pa. Gov.

 

Bathroom Bill Back Or Scott Wagner How Could You?

Bathroom Bill Back Or Scott Wagner How Could You?
How could you, Scott Wagner?

Bathroom Bill Back Or Scott Wagner How Could You? — An attempt to make “gender identity” and “sexual expression”  civil rights is again being made by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, via SB 613.

The bill would allow men to use ladies rooms if they say they are feeling like a woman. It would allow boys to compete on high school girls sports teams and share their locker rooms. It would be one more obstacle for small business owners in dealing with disruptive or unsatisfactory employees.

It’s bad, pointless unnecessary legislation and very bad politics especially for those who want to be governor, Scott Wagner. Wagner, of the 28th Senatorial District, is one of the sponsors.

Target stock is tanking after it loudly instituted an “inclusive” restroom policy. It’s a rather under-reported story. The loss of shoppers is not due, or entirely due, to a boycott by religious people. It’s mostly because people — especially women — don’t want to frequent creepy places where they feel discomfort and tension. If that’s how the vote is being made with pocketbooks how does one expect votes to be made with votes?

The bill’s prime sponsor is Republican Patrick Brown of the 16th District.

Bathroom Bill Back Or Scott Wagner How Could You?

Paycheck Protection Simple Justice

Paycheck Protection Simple Justice

By Rep. Bryan Cutler
During my time serving the 100th District, a handful of well-meaning residents have walked into my taxpayer-funded Lancaster County district office and requested campaign lawn signs. They have always walked out empty handed. In fact, if I tried to conduct campaign activities from my legislative office, I’d end up in jail—as other politicians have. And that’s how it should be.

Likewise, just think if I requested that the House payroll system be used to deduct voluntary campaign contributions for my re-election campaign from my staff’s paychecks. You can imagine the response: Absolutely not.

The objection would not be over the staff’s desire to contribute, or the cost of deducting the money. Instead, the request would be denied as a matter of ethics: Public resources cannot be used for politics.

That’s because taxpayer-funded government resources should not be used for politics. Unfortunately, there’s a big loophole in state law.

State and local governments across Pennsylvania regularly use public resources to collect campaign funds for a special group of political players: Government union leaders. These funds are used for lobbying and political fundraising and even given directly to candidates. And government unions are the only organizations in Pennsylvania that can use public resources to raise their political dollars.

This is an insult to Pennsylvanians who deserve better from their government.

That’s why for the past few sessions I have introduced and championed legislation called paycheck protection, which would restore the integrity of public resources by ending the use of government systems for political fundraising.

As commonsense as this reform is, some still oppose it, relying on myths and scare tactics to misrepresent what this legislation does—and does not—do.

I believe Pennsylvanians deserve the truth.

The truth is Pennsylvania government union leaders use taxpayer-funded payroll systems to collect money from public employees for three purposes:

  1. Union dues and fees used for representational activities
  2. Union dues used for political activity such as lobbying and radio/TV ads
  3. Political action committee contributions given directly to candidates

The latter two are explicitly political.

The truth is, since 2007, Pennsylvania’s government unions have spent nearly $100 million on politics—most of which they collected via automatic deduction from workers’ paychecks using public resources.

The truth is this immoral practice, which would land any elected official in jail, has gone unchecked for years.

If we care about ethics and integrity in government, we cannot let this continue.

My bill would transition the collection of political money back where it belongs—outside the scope of public resources and into the hands of government union leaders.

These unions would still be free to use public resources to collect non-political union dues and fees used for collective bargaining and representational work. However, government unions would no longer enjoy the special privilege of using public resources to collect money used for political activity. Just like every other private organization in Pennsylvania, they would begin collecting political money directly from those who donate it, without using taxpayers as their middleman.

Opponents of this reform claim they are fighting to protect workers’ voices, but the truth is this reform will give public workers greater voice in how their money is spent on politics. Because government unions will collect their political dollars directly from members, they will be more accountable to members regarding how those dollars are spent.

Opponents also argue they are working to preserve government unions’ ability to collectively bargain, but this reform does not affect collective bargaining rights or prevent unions from engaging in political activity. It simply separates taxpayer resources and electoral politics.

The state Senate passed similar legislation in February.

It’s time my colleagues in the House also make this good government reform a priority.

The law should apply equally to everyone. Paycheck protection would be a major step toward making this principle a reality.

Rep. Cutler (R-100) is the Pennsylvania House Majority Whip.

Paycheck Protection Simple Justice

Paycheck Protection Simple Justice

MPGA — Senate Ed Committee OKs 5 Sane Bills

MPGA — Senate Ed Committee OKs 5 Sane Bills  — Pennsylvania State Sen. John Eichelberger (R-30) reports that the Senate Education Committee, yesterday, April 19, approved five bills, including legislation intended to improve transparency and legislation expanding access to vocational education and school resources to students.

The bills are all small but significant advances to the cause of common sense that should be no-brainers but have long be stifled by our special-interest wannabee masters.

Two of the bills are sponsored by Stewart Greenleaf (R-12) and one by John Rafferty (R-44). Neither is considered the type who would fly a Gadsden flag and wear a “Don’t Tread on Me” teeshirt.

It’s amazing the progress that is being made. Make Pennsylvania Great Again.

Here are the bills. Hat tip Joanne Yurchak.

Senate Bill 88 (Greenleaf) – The legislation would amend current law to prohibit censorship of an American or Pennsylvania historical document based on any religious content. The bill would allow documents or portions of documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitutions of Pennsylvania and the United States; Acts of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and of the United States Congress, etc. to be used, read or posted in their entirety regardless of whether such documents contain religious references.

Senate Bill 93 (Greenleaf) – The legislation would amend current law to provide that a pupil of a home education program or a private tutoring program shall not be refused admission to courses held in additional schools or departments such as a vocational school. Under current law, a school district is not required to provide dual enrollment for homeschooled students.

Senate Bill 273 (Rafferty) – The legislation would prohibit any form of state funding to any public or private institution of higher education that designates itself as a “sanctuary campus”, refuses to share information about undocumented students, or in any way impedes the federal government’s ability to enforce federal immigration laws.

Senate Bill 383 (White) – The legislation would authorize school boards to allow certain school employees to access firearms on school property and further enhance security measures when emergencies arise. If a local board decides to establish such a policy, any person so authorized must at a minimum have a license to carry a concealed firearm; and maintain a current certification in the use and handling of a firearm.

Senate Bill 592 (Stefano) – The legislation would amend current law to require that when a school board extends an offer of employment for a district superintendent, assistant district superintendent, associate superintendent, or any principal, it must first post the terms of employment on the school district’s public website.

 MPGA — Senate Ed Committee OKs 5 Sane Bills

 MPGA -- Senate Ed Committee OKs 5 Sane Bills

Pointless Pettiness Is Bad Politics

Pointless pettiness is bad politics.

The Pennsylvania Constitution mandates that judges retire at age 70. Some thought that was too early and wanted to make it age 75. The amendment process requires one of the legislative chambers — both of which have been under Republican control since 2011 — to write the amendment. It is then advertised in at least two newspapers in every county at least three months before the next general election. It then must be passed again via simple majority by both chambers in the next session. The wording is then placed on a ballot as a referendum giving the general public final say.

The chambers approved this:  Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges and justices of the peace (known as magisterial district judges) be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years, instead of the current requirement that they be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70?

The referendum was scheduled for the April 26 primary and the mandated advertising — costing the public $1.3 million  — was performed.

Pointless Pettiness Is Bad PoliticsThe Senate leadership had second thoughts, however. Cynics are saying they feared the public might vote it down which would have forced the removal of Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, a Republican, giving the Democrats control of the state Supreme Court.

So they filed a legal challenge claiming the words were too confusing. The state Supreme Court laughed and threw it out.

The legislature then passed resolutions, April 6 and April 11 invalidating  the election two weeks away. They  re-wrote the amendment for the Nov. 8 general election as:  Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices, judges and justices of the peace be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years.

Democrats  filed a legal challenge saying the delay was unconstitutional because the legislation was not presented to Gov. Wolf as required. Commonwealth Court rejected the argument.

They filed another challenge saying the delay illegal because it was political in nature. Commonwealth Court rejected this claim on July 6.

A challenged was filed on July 21 by former Supreme Court justices Ronald Castille and Stephen Zappala Sr, and Philadelphia attorney Richard Sprague saying the new wording was deceitful.

Supreme Court took the case and voted 3-3 which left the wording as the short version. Saylor appropriately recused himself.

Yesterday, Sept. 16, the court ruled 4-2 that the case can’t be reconsidered, hence the short version without the mention of an existing mandated retirement age is what the voters will see.

The Court got it right with the last argument. It isn’t their job to determine the wording of amendments. On the other hand, it is judiciary’s job to judge process and if constitutional amendments require legislative votes in consecutive sessions with advertising in between, then one wonders how changes in the wording can be made at the last minute.

And what’s it say about our solons if they can’t get it right in the first place?

The word changes are pointless gamesmanship and political pettiness at the highest level. This stuff always backfires especially when one learns it has wasted $1.3 million of our money.

And, for what it’s worth, the retirement age should not be increased. Vote this amendment down on Nov. 8.

Pointless Pettiness Is Bad Politics