Haven't decided yet how you're going to vote on the Act 1 tax question on Tuesday's ballot?
When more than 250 elected school board members representing 27 school districts, two-dozen taxpayer associations, many of the state's leading newspapers, a lot of state lawmakers and several citizen activists tell you to vote against Act 1, you should listen.
The only person who may be thinking about voting yes on Act 1 is Gov. Ed Rendell, who signed the tax relief hoax into law last June.
Here's what the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said about Act 1 in its editorial pages: "Act 1 should join the legislative junk heap of half-baked Harrisburg thinking. If voters overwhelmingly reject the referenda, Gov. Ed Rendell and legislators will have to come up with something else. And that begins by cutting Pennsylvania's obnoxious spending."
The Allentown Morning Call pretty much said it all in the headline for its editorial: "Act 1 is fake school-tax reform, reject it by voting 'no' on referendums."
Here's what the Morning Call said in its Sunday editorial: "The Act 1 referendums force school districts and their residents to do a task that the state Legislature refuses to do — reform the system of taxation and adequately and equitably fund public education. If the Legislature had the courage, it could increase the state income tax or raise the sales tax and eliminate school property taxes. Doing so, of course, would require members to cast votes that could be labeled 'raising taxes.' Not nearly enough members are willing to do that. Thus, they stoop to the chicanery of Act 1."
The Bucks County Courier Times said "They can do better," referring to Gov. Ed Rendell and the Pennsylvania Legislature. "Our main objection is that the new law does not go far enough in reducing property taxes ... Pennsylvania taxpayers shouldn't settle ... They have a right to demand more than flawed results from our well-paid legislators, and legislators have an obligation to do more."
And The Mercury, which has been calling for the repeal of Act 1 for many months, said this in its Sunday edition: "The message that needs to be sent to Harrisburg is this: Pennsylvania needs a statewide reform of the funding of public education so that local schools are funded equitably across district lines with a stable funding mechanism; an elimination of the property tax to spur economic growth and more fairly distribute the burden of taxation; and a system of controls that cuts waste and inefficiency in school spending. Legislators and Gov. Rendell failed miserably last year in this attempt at tax reform. Voters should reject Act 1 and tell the leadership in Harrisburg to try again. Maybe with Act 2, they could get it right."
Berks County is leading the way in calling for repeal of Act 1, with 10 of the county's 18 school districts passing a resolution asking the Pennsylvania Legislature to abandon the tax shift scheme.
Many lawmakers who voted against Act 1 last June are telling constituents and taxpayer groups that defeat of the tax shift referendum by voters on May 15 is a crucial step to get the Legislature to pass genuine property tax relief.
Legislators believe Rendell, who was the driving force behind Act 1, will brag that Pennsylvanians are satisfied with the current property tax system and nothing more will be done if the Act 1 referendums are passed by a majority of school district.
Rendell and the Harrisburg politicians have been lying to us for the past five years about property tax relief. They've come up with various schemes to distract voters. They've made endless promises. It's time for the people of Pennsylvania to take matters into their own hands.
A "No" vote Tuesday on Act 1 will send a clear message to Rendell and his cronies in the Pennsylvania Legislature that the people of Pennsylvania aren’t stupid. And their patience is not limitless.
No more parlor tricks. No more empty promises. We want the elimination of all property taxes now. If the career politicians in Harrisburg won’t deliver what the people want, it's time for a new Legislature.
All 203 members of the House and half of the state Senate will be up for re-election in 2008. How they voted on Act 1 should determine their political futures.
Vote "No" on Tuesday on Act 1. Call your legislator on Wednesday and tell them their job is on the line if they don't deliver property tax relief. No more back-room deals with Ed Rendell. No more tax reform scams like Act 1.