Two-thirds of Pennsylvania residents want the elimination of property taxes, but Gov. Ed Rendell and his Democratic puppets in the Legislature are proposing to spend $27.3 billion for the fiscal year starting July 1, a plan that Rendell says will require $2 billion in new or expanded taxes. What we have here is failure to communicate. Rendell and the Democratic lemmings who populate Harrisburg aren't getting the message.
They needed to be reminded that they work for us and need to follow the will of the people. Any Democrat who votes for Rendell's tax increases should be punished in 2008 by the voters.
There is a plan before the Legislature to eliminate all school property taxes in the state. It should be Priority No. 1 for the Legislature. From the editorial page of The Mercury, here's what you need to do this week if you want to see genuine property tax relief:
Legislators urged to support plan for tax reform
A coalition of Pennsylvania taxpayer groups has chosen this week to wage a renewed push for tax reform.
The statewide rejection of Act 1 in the May primary opened the door for another look at property tax reform in Harrisburg, but legislative leaders are taking their time in crossing the threshold and taking up the cause.
That hasn't stopped state Rep. Sam Rohrer of Berks County from renewing his campaign to get support for his Plan for Pennsylvania's Future, commonly known as the Commonwealth Caucus plan.
The plan, introduced by a House Republican caucus group that includes Rohrer, calls for elimination of local property taxes and a broader-based statewide sales tax to fund public schools.
According to an e-mail sent out last week to taxpayer advocacy groups, Rohrer's office is asking 10,000 homeowners to support the plan this week with an e-mail and telephone blitz to all House members.
The message to homeowners:
"Contact your state representative and voice your opinion that the Plan for Pennsylvania's Future is the solution you want to the school funding and homeownership crisis in Pennsylvania.
"Encourage your representative to contact their leadership with their support of the Plan for Pennsylvania's Future and to tell them that they want school property taxes eliminated NOW."
The Plan for Pennsylvania's Future had the support of area taxpayer groups a year ago when it was part of the legislative debate during the special session on tax reform.
But the plan never got traction, and the result of a year of debate over how best to replace the property tax ended with a lame compromise — Act 1 — that gave retired and low-income property owners a minor tax break but shifted the burden more heavily onto the working homeowner.
The bill became a dead issue on May 15 when ballot questions regarding the tax shift were rejected in nearly every school district in the state.
As legislators were forced back to the drawing board, or on to Act 2 as we like to say, Rohrer's plan has gotten some bipartisan attention.
Gov. Ed Rendell and House Democratic Majority Leader H. William DeWeese have both said publicly they would support a sales tax change if it resulted in meaningful tax reform.
Rohrer says the plan is ready to go and with enough pressure on legislators from the home front, it could be passed this month.
The push this week to gain support is critical and timely. There are still many legislators who fail to grasp the importance of this issue, and many who fail to see the importance of this opportunity.
Pennsylvania needs a bold plan. This one may not be perfect, but it's a forceful step in the right direction. Tell your legislators to take that step and move ahead.
For more information on the Plan for Pennsylvania's Future or for information on how to contact state legislators, visit the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations Web site at http://www.ptcc.us/and the state House of Representatives Web site http://www.house.state.pa.us.
Copyright 2007, The Mercury