Monday, May 07, 2007

PACleanSweep urges defeat of Act 1

Russ Diamond, the founder of PACleanSweep and one of the leaders of the reform movement in Pennsylvania, is urging voters to cast a NO vote on the Act 1 referendum awaiting them on the May 15 ballot.

Below is an interesting perspective on Act 1 by Diamond, who became famous for leading the fight against the July 2005 Legislative payjacking. PACleanSweep also helped defeat some of the incumbent legislators who voted for the pay raise. Diamond launched an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2006 as an independent.

Here's Diamond's message to Pennsylvania voters on Act 1:

"At the primary election on May 15, Pennsylvania voters will be given the opportunity to voice their opinion of the results of the legislature's Special Session on property taxes held in 2006. PACleanSweep is recommending a resounding "no" vote and defeat of this referendum across the Commonwealth.

The exact wording of the referendum will vary from school district to school district, but the general theme will be to ask if taxpayers would like to exchange an increase in income tax for a reduction in property tax.

If the Act 1 referendum is approved, some taxpayers will win and some taxpayers will lose, but the majority of losers would be working families, renters and small businesses. Property taxes would not be reduced on rental or business properties and any tax rebates for other properties would not be keyed to property or assessment value. On average, a two-income home owning household in Pennsylvania would experience an overall tax increase.

Pitting taxpayer against taxpayer by asking them to figure out the complicated formulae hidden behind this referendum and having them vote to increase their neighbors' taxes appears to be a determined effort by General Assembly to pass the buck on school property taxes once again while claiming to have "done something about it" during a volatile post-pay raise election year.

Article III, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states: "The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth."

"The Act 1 referenda are the latest result of the legislature playing Pontius Pilate on property taxes for nearly forty years," said Russ Diamond, PACleanSweep chair. "Despite a clear Constitutional responsibility for maintaining and supporting the public education system, lawmakers continue to wash their hands of the issue by passing the tough decisions to others. Defeating Act 1 in every school district in the Commonwealth will put that responsibility squarely back where it belongs."

Placing such referenda on odd-year primary ballots is a tried and true method of winnowing down voter participation to only those likely to show up at such elections - mostly older Pennsylvanians and political insiders - who just happen to be the most likely to gain if these referenda are approved. This lends even more credence to the theory that the General Assembly is attempting to shirk its responsibilities.

"I believe that strategy might backfire this time," added Diamond. "I've heard from many older Pennsylvanians who - since the pay raise - are no longer willing to accept legislative tip-toeing around this issue. Despite the possibility that they might gain a few dollars overall, they'll be voting no on this referendum in an attempt to force the legislature to actually solve the property tax problem once and for all. What Pennsylvanians demand and deserve is tax relief, not a tax shell game and the neighbor versus neighbor feuds that go along with it."

Pennsylvanians are reminded that all voters - not just Republicans and Democrats - are eligible to vote on these referenda in school districts where they appear on the primary election ballot. Alerting neighbors, coworkers, family and friends about the referendum issue is the best way to pressure the legislature to live up to its Constitutional duty."

Citizen Action Item:

PACleanSweep has developed a downloadable PDF handout advocating a 'no' vote for citizens to print at home and distribute at their local polling places. It can be downloaded at and the Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view and print the file.

Download the Handout for Distribution at the Polls

Download the Adobe Acrobat Reader (free!)

For More Information:
Russ Diamond
PACleanSweep Chair


Carl Miller said...

Dear Mr. Phyrillas:

When is all the "Talking" going to STOP and some positive action taken on the Gestapo-like, confiscatory property tax system in Pennsylvania?

I've witnessed dozens of groups spewing forth their "talk" and not one positive thing has been done about abolishing the heinous property tax system in this Commonwealth---and as long as you keep on "talking" nothing ever will get done about it!

Let me offer a few suggestions that might help you and your colleagues to get the attention of the thieving midgets in Harrisburg:

1. Try and get the names of all members of the General Assembly in 1947 (the year the Real Estate Tax Sale Law was enacted)and their descendants too. Round them up and then hang them in the local town squares. That bunch of midgets did more to endanger our lives and property than any other bunch I know. Our Commonwealth will be better off for it!

2. Failing number 1, start circulating a petiton "DEMANDING" an immediate moratorium on ALL sheriff's sales of a person's private property because of delinquent property taxes.

3. Failing numbers 1 and 2, inform the people who are facing a sheriff's sale because of delinquent property taxes that the Pa. Constitution (a dirty word to politicians) prohibits the government from taking private property for public use (Which schools most certainly are)without FIRST paying just compensation.

4. Failing all three of those--"Get your guns and defend your property against the Gestapo." As Shakespeare said "Talkers are no good doers."

As an aside, please tell me why you or anyone else needs (but worse accepts) something called a schoolboard staffed by high-school dropouts and other such incompetents. The same can be said of your local yokels, as well. if perhaps you might not agree, and think you are being represented by intlelligent local yokels: write a check for a few thousand dollars of your hardearned money and let them to handle it for you. Makes you shutter, huh?

Good luck, keep in touch, and please take care.

Yours in the fight, Carl F. Miller

Carl Miller said...

Dear Mr. Phyrillas:

Another thought on the Gestapo-like property tax system in Pennsylvania.

If you know someone who has received a notice from a tax claim bureau that their home is about to be sold for delinquent property taxes, ask them to let you read the notice. Aside from all the other Gestapo-like language in the notice, you should pay strict attention to the part that instructs the home owner that "NO PERSONAL CHECKS WILL BE ACCEPTED." This is an outright lie and heinous means of intimidation. To prove my point, I direct you to a Commonweaslth Court of Pennsylvania case: Pentlong v. GLS Capital, Inc. and County of Allegheny; and also a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case: Douglass v. Grace Building Co., Inc., 477 Pa. 289, 383 A.2d 937 (1978). Have an attorney friend look up these two cases for you and then you tell me if you still trust the thieves in your tax claim bureaus. Incidentally, Douglass was a Bucks County case---right in your backyard!

If perhaps you would like some
other comments on the property tax system in Pennsylvania, do not hesitate to contact me at Together we can make changes in Pennsylvania. The next citizen's home that is sold for delinquent property taxes is a sure that the Gstapo is winning, and that one more of our helpless citizens have suffered because of it. We've got to put a STOP to this confiscation of our homes---one way or another!

Please take care, Carl F. Miller

Carl Miller said...

Dear Mr. Phyrillas:

I don't mean to burden you with my thoughts on the Gestapo-like property tax system in Pennsylvania, but to me (and thousands of other good and decent Pennsylvanians),it's a most important topic.

Since you too may be interested in doing something to rid Pennsylvanians of that heinous and confiscatory tax system, I'd like to refer you to a website that will provide you with some important information relevant to what we Western Pennsylvanians are trying to do to abolish property taxes in Pennsylvania.

Please go to to view the many steps we've taken in our fight against the Un-American property tax scheme. At that site, you will also notice the name STOP (Stop Taxing Our Properties). This group was started by Bob Logue, a former KDKA talk show host. Bob is no longer with KDKA, being, I believe, forced to retire because he was getting up the fat asses of the fat politicians in Harrisburg. Yuo will also note at the website that we've obtained more than 118,000 signatures on our STOP petition in Western Pennsylvania. Thanks to men like Bob Logue, Senator Sean Logan and a magnificent lady Senator named Jane Orie. Yuo may also be interesrted in knowing that Senator Logan has introduced proposed legislation to abolish all property taxes in Pennsylvania. Yuo can read his bills at the website, as well as a listing of those representatives and senators who support our cause. I urge you to visit the site, and to tell your friends about it also.

If perhaps you do decide to visit the site, please favor me with your observations.

As always, please take care, Carl F. Miller