SB 251 Lets Towns Fund Budgets With Speed Traps
By Christopher Fromme
Imagine driving down the PA Turnpike when suddenly, … a State Trooper pulls you over and issues you a ticket The speeding ticket, even though it’s only a little bit over the limit, is hundreds of dollars… your day is absolutely ruined!
Now, imagine if this scenario played itself out every day, on every street in the Commonwealth, with the same efficiency as the highway patrol. Instead, a local Law Enforcement Officer has pulled you over, not because you posed a threat to public safety, but to meet a quota, for the purpose of balancing the local municipal budget.
The General Assembly in Harrisburg is trying to make this nightmare a reality. Senate Bill 251 has already passed in the Senate and just passed 22-2 in the House Transportation Committee. If this bill passes, it would grant new powers to local police, so that every local police department would be able to use RADAR guns to determine vehicle speed. With SB251 Harrisburg is authorizing a 20% across-the-board municipal regressive tax increase, one that disproportionately affects those least able to afford it poor and middle class families with little disposable income.
This is not the way we should be funding our local communities, and we still have time to stop this. We need to contact every State Representative to demand they withdraw their support of this bill, and vote NO on SB251. Stopping this bill is vital to protecting families from a new and dangerous form of taxation on PA citizens. This is worse than GAS TAX vote which helped defeat Senator Randy Vulakovich in the May primary
Further, SB 251 gives municipalities a big incentive to support this new taxation tool, because it allows for up to 20% of their budget to come from RADAR and LIDAR tickets. To be clear, Harrisburg is authorizing a 20% across-the-board municipal tax increase! They know that local leaders are being confronted with rising municipal costs, and are being forced to either raise property taxes or make due with less. They want to pass this bill to give those leaders a new way to raise money, without the stigma of raising their existing property or income taxes. Unfortunately, the tax they are attempting to create with SB 251 is a regressive tax, one that disproportionately affects those least able to afford it: poor and middle class families with little disposable income.
SB 251 will force our LEOs to serve as tax collectors; establishing and meeting budget quotas,putting themselves in harm’s way to execute needless traffic stops, and collecting taxes at the point of a gun. Anger and violence will inevitably be directed at individual officers due to this practice, but the reality is that they have little to no accountability directly to citizens, as local police work for the municipalities in PA, and are not elected like our County Sheriffs.
This is not the way we should be funding our local communities, and luckily, we still have time to stop this. We need to contact our State Representatives to demand they withdraw their support of this bill, and vote NO on SB 251. Stopping this bill is vital to protecting families, individual citizens and LEOs, and stopping a new and dangerous form of taxation on PA citizens.
For those living in Pennsylvania’s 38th Senate District make sure to vote for Jeremy Shaffer on Nov. 6. No negative ads just positive solutions. www.jeremyshaffer.com