Saturday, May 31, 2008

Conservative heavyweights to speak at PA GOP fundraiser

Conservative heavyweights Fred Thompson and Michael Steele will headline the Pennsylvania Republican Party's 2nd Annual Celebrate Pennsylvania Dinner on June 6 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.

Thompson, a former U.S. Senator and a 2008 presidential candidate, and Steele, chairman of GOPAC and former lieutenant governor of Maryland, will address more than 500 state party members, elected officials and grassroots volu nteers from across the Commonwealth, according to PA GOP Chairman Robert A. Gleason.

(I haven't heard Thompson speak live, but I did catch Steele's speech at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in April and he is an excellent speaker.)

The discussion will focus on the critical 2008 Presidential Election, and the importance of delivering Pennsylvania's 21 electoral votes to Sen. John McCain, Gleason said.

The dinner will take place in the Chocolate Ballroom in Hershey. Cost per person is $125. (State party members can purchase their ticket for $100 and a table of 10 can be reserved for $900. The cost to attend the VIP Reception is $250.)

For more information or to RSVP, contact Megan Martin at 717-234-4901, ext. 131, or

Tax revenues decline in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania collected 7.2 percent less in tax revenues than it projected for the month of May.

That's a sure sign that the state's economy is slowing down.

So why is Gov. Ed Rendell and Democratic lawmakers proposing to spend $1 billion more in the fiscal year starting July 1?

You can't spend what you don't have.

It's time for Rendell and the free-spending Democrats to tighten their belts. Pennsylvania can't afford the state government it has now. Pushing state spending past $28 billion is irresponsible.

Read more about the decline in tax revenues in the release below.

PA Revenue Department Releases May Collections

The $10 billion dilemma

Republican lawmakers are pushing for the elimination of property taxes in Pennsylvania. Democrats are pushing for a new way to fund public education.

The two sides should be working together, says The Mercury in its editorial, "Tax-reform plan and school funding formula should go hand-in-hand"

From the editorial:
It's time for a bi-partisan solution. The local tax burden and shortfalls in school funding go hand in hand. But every time resolution draws near, legislators on both sides back down for fear of losing local control of schools if the state holds the purse strings.

This is not about losing control, it’s about fixing a broken system. The two issues of tax reform and school funding go hand in hand. Why not reach across the aisle and join them?
Read the full editorial here.

Rendell, Democrats hurting PA economy

Business and political leaders held a forum in Pottstown this week to discuss a package of bills introduced by House Republicans to ease the tax burden on Pennsylvania residents and small business owners.

The legislation is a no-brainer. It would put more money in the hands of Pennsylvania taxpayers and business owners, who in turn could stimulate the state's moribund economy.

But there is a major hurdle.

Gov. Ed Rendell and his Democratic Party puppets in the Legislature aren't keen on the idea of returning your money back to you. This is the same Democratic crew that has raised state spending by $7 billion since 2003 and has saddled the state's taxpayers with billions more in borrowing.

Read about the GOP's efforts to stimulate the state's economy by reducing taxes in this article, "Making business in Pa. less taxing," published in The Mercury

Internet taxes are the next big battleground

You knew it was coming. There was no way that government was going to allow consumers to buy and sell over the Internet without sending the taxman after them. This release is about a challenge to a New York state law, but it's going to be repeated in all 50 states. Challenges Constitutionality of New York's Internet Tax Law

New Polls: Americans Want Greater Leadership on Education Issues

New Polls: Americans Want Greater Leadership on Education Issues

7 things on the To-Do List for 'Do-Nothing' Congress

President Bush used his weekly radio address Saturday to remind Congress that there's plenty of important bills that haven't been passed. Somebody should wake up Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and remind them that this is an election year. The Democrats are giving Republicans a ready-made platform. Two years of a 'do-nothing' Democratic Congress have brought on an economy teetering on recession and skyrocketing gas prices that will plunge this nation into an economic crisis. If you want more of the same, keep the 'do-nothing' Democrats in power.

Radio Address by President Bush to the Nation

Friday, May 30, 2008

Obama's Bad Week in Review

Another week of gaffes, knowledge gaps, political posturing, backpedaling, and contradictions on major issues shows Obama's not ready to lead, according to the Republican National Committee. Maybe it's not too late for the Democratic Party to nominate Hillary Clinton.

Republican National Committee: Obama's Bad Week in Review

Insurance lobby blocks reform in Harrisburg?

Insurance is a complicated business. There have been efforts in recent years to reform Pennsylvania insurance practices, expecially in the area of health insurance, but legislation has stalled in both the House and Senate. One of the reasons the legislation has not been passed is the powerful insurance lobby that rules over the Pennsylvania Legislature. (Did you know that Gov. Rendell's last insurance secretary left for a job in the insurance industry?)

The letter below was published in The Mercury. It comes from a man who has operated an insurance business in the Pottstown area for more than 30 years. He's not a paid lobbyist for the insurance industry, but he certainly knows the industry. Take a look at the comments by Ron Black and make sure your legislator knows that he or she should be looking out for the consumer and not the insurance lobby.

Insurance lobby is powerful

I am writing in response to the May 8 letter "NFIB Supports Insurance Reform." This was in regard to my letter "House gets insurance bill right." It starts out by saying my article mischaraterized the NFIB and fails to address the negative, unintended consequences that may result if House Bill 2005 is passed.

The National Federation of Independent Business sells health insurance for the for-profits companies and Kevin Shivers is a paid lobbyist. I am not a paid lobbyist and I do not get paid to write these letters. Kevin Shivers should be ashamed to even suggest the NFIB supports SB 865 but then you must look at its key sponsor, Sen. Don White, chair of the Senate and Banking Committee. But that's not all. A lobbyist by the name of Sam Marshall, president of The Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania, was the main writer of a House Bill sponsored by Rep. Nick Micozzie. It also happens that he was the chairman of the House Insurance Committee. Senate Bill 865 is a full clone of Rep. Micozzie's bill.

I might add that Sen. John Rafferty was a co-sponsor of SB 865 but after I spoke with him, he withdrew his support. SB 865 would allow legalized discrimination and is anti small business. It provides no regulation of the for-profits which the NFIB supports. They want to eliminate state regulation and turn all controls over to the federal government. The NFIB mentions nothing about Governor Rendell's Mathematica Report "making small group insurance more affordable." Every small business owner should ask his or her state senator or house member for a copy. Read it and you decide for yourself if the NFIB really represents you in suggesting the passage of SB865.

The Mathematica Report clearly shows that other states like Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and New York have proven it works. House Bill 2005 has passed with bi-partisan support, eliminates discrimination, and regulates all health insurance companies. Yes Kevin, we deserve more so let's eliminate legal discrimination so that "Solutions Start Here."

I don't think I mischaracterized the NFIB because they support issues that are self-serving. SB 865 is a lobbyist supported bill, whereas HB 2005 is a bi-partisan supported bill and supported by the governor's own Mathematica Report. As I said before, this may be our last chance (HB 2005) to see the start of real meaningful health insurance reform.


Should mobile home owners pay property taxes?

Here's a twist in the ongoing effort to abolish property taxes. And if it succeeds, we may end up with most Pennsylvanians moving to trailer parks.

Two Montgomery County lawmakers have introduced a bill to exempt people who live in mobile homes or trailer homes from paying the onerous property tax.

Most mobile homes are set on land the "homeowner" does not own, according to state Sens. John Rafferty, R-44th Dist., and Rob Wonderling, R-24th Dist. So why should these non-property owners pay property taxes, the lawmakers ask.

Senate Bill 1377 would eliminate two sections of The General County Assessment Law, excluding house trailers and mobile homes from the property tax.

Rafferty said he introduced this bill because he believes that forcing mobile home owners to pay property tax is unjust due to the fact that a mobile home is designed for transport and is titled by PennDOT like every other mobile vehicle.

"Some residents have come to me expressing their discontent that they have to pay property taxes on the assessed value of their mobile homes. I think this is unfair, because while these people may own the mobile home, they do not own the land that the mobile home sits on," Rafferty said in a press release.

Wonderling echoed Rafferty's sentiments on this legislation: "Often individuals living in mobile homes pay additional fees for the use of land where they place their vehicle. Requiring these people to pay property taxes for land they do not own is unfair, especially to those families living on fixed incomes."

The General County Assessment Law, passed in 1933 and amended in 2002, originally called for taxes on buildings permanently attached to land or connected with water, gas, electric or sewage facilities, Rafferty and Wonderling said.

A mobile home is a dwelling structure built on a steel chassis and fitted with wheels intended to be transported to a usually permanent location, the senators argue.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Bear sightings in Montco

Pennsylvania Game Commission officials and local police are on the lookout for a bear that has been spotted in residential neighborhoods in Montgomery County.

It's a familiar story. Housing developments and shopping centers have encroached areas where bears, deer and other animals once called their own.

Read more about the search for the elusive 150-pound black bear in today's edition of The Mercury.

The Obama Gaffe Machine

John Fund, writing in The Wall Street Journal, chronicles the never-ending gaffes, flubs and bloomers coming from Barack Obama these days. We have five more months before the election and the pressure appears to be getting to the most inexperienced person to ever run for president. Can Obama survive the summer without wilting?

Read more below.

RNC: The Obama Gaffe Machine

Rich women get lonely, too

Reporter Carl Hessler Jr. unravels a complicated scam whereby a Montgomery County man bilked rich women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The suspect found the women on a dating Web site for millionaires, which I guess means that all the money in the world can't buy love.

"They were active, vital women who have lives and careers and were looking for companionship. He was manipulating them. He was lying to them and he stole their money," says Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman.

Read the full story, "Rich romance leads to financial nightmare" in today's edition of The Mercury.

Something better to do on June 2?

There are still a few seats available on buses to take part in the Save Our Homes Rally in Harrisburg Monday.

For $20, you can be part of a taxpayer movement designed to save every homeowner in Pennsylvania thousands of dollars in school property taxes. If you're retired or you can take the day off from work, what better way to spend the day than stand with fellow citizens to demand action on property taxes?

Bus transportation has been arranged by the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition to take residents to the Save Our Homes Rally at the State Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg on Monday, June 2. The rally starts at 11 AM.

This could be the last chance this year to get the Legislature to act on property tax reform.

From Pottstown Area:

Bus will be leaving from the Wal-Mart in the Pottstown Center on Shoemaker Road at 8:30 AM. Contact Gene Endress of the PCTA's Owen J. Roberts taxpayer group at You can also call Gene at 610-323-3914 or 610-698-0553 for reservations.

From Reading Area:

Bus will be leaving from the K-Mart at Rt. 222 and Rt. 724, Shillington, at 8:30 AM. Contact David Baldinger of the PTCC at

From Lancaster County Area:

Bus for the Eastern Lancaster County/Western Chester County area will be leaving from the Christiana Fire House at 8:30 AM with a pickup stop in Lancaster city. Contact John McCartney of the PCTA's CLASTA group at

From York County Area:

Bus will leave from the Southeastern York County area (Delta, Fawn Grove, Peach Bottom) with a pickup stop near York City. Contact Margie Lavin of the PCTA's SETRC group at or Warren Bulette of the PCTA's YCTC group at

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sign petition to lower gas prices

From the blog:
We Reached 100,000 Signatures!

Last night we reached our goal of 100,000 signatures for the "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" petition! The response has been so amazing, we've decided to set a new goal of 200,000 by next week.

Click here to sign the petition demanding Congress find a solution to the growing gas price crisis.

Thank a Democrat next time you fill your tank

Regular unleaded gasoline hit $3.95 a gallon today in Berks County; $4.25 a gallon for premium.

Don't forget to thank your Democratic representatives in Congress for sending gas prices skyrocketing by doing absolutely nothing to help the U.S. find additional oil over the past two years.

The editorial in Investor's Business Daily, "Peak Oil: An Idea Whose Time Is Up," helps explain the current crisis and how Congress allowed it to happen.

From IBD:
U.S. production is trending down again, but it's not because there's no oil. It's due to shortsighted policies that prevent the industry from drilling for the almost 100 billion barrels of crude known to be under Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and beneath the oceans just off of America's coasts. It's because politics and political correctness block the development of Big Sky state oil shale fields, where as much as 2 trillion barrels of crude, by some estimates, sit idle.

It's possible that rather than falling for the peak oil theory, investors simply are considering the reality that Congress has done nothing to increase crude output, and that continuing on that foolish path will indeed bring shortages.

The U.S., though, is not the only nation that pumps oil. World output is expected to rise from 85 million barrels a day today to 110 million barrels by 2015, according to the International Energy Agency.
Think back to 2006 when American voters decided to put the Democrats back in charge in Washington, D.C. How much has gas risen since Pelosi, Reid & Co. took over? How much worse will it get if we elect more Democrats this November?

'Abolish school property taxes now'

A guest column today by state Rep. Sam Rohrer, who is leading the fight to eliminate school property taxes in Pennsylvania.

Abolish school property taxes now

The state's impending budget negotiations beg Gov. Ed Rendell and the legislature to remember the lessons learned from the credit crunch fallout: If you cannot afford it, do not expect someone else to pay for it.

Case in point: $6.2 billion dollars is a price that Pennsylvania taxpayers cannot afford to pay for the governor's leviathan 2008-2009 educational funding program. Even if state government agreed to give the governor a blank check to spend on education it would not fix the school funding crisis in Pennsylvania.

With the Boston Globe highlighting increased prices in every market over the past year (26 percent in milk prices, 40 percent in egg prices, and 300 percent in wheat prices), financially unstable school districts will no longer be able to force fiscally strapped homeowners to pay higher property taxes. This unconstitutional and oft-raised tax will lead to the inevitable foreclosure of countless more privately owned properties.

What we can afford and must address is comprehensive school finance reform. Again frivolously throwing more money at the school system will not provide the solution to a collapsing funding system.

In fact, school districts nationwide have been given access to unlimited funds with the goal of fixing problems-from underperformance to desegregation. Yet despite these "strategic investments," (a.k.a. increased taxes, increased spending and increased debt), these problems remain unresolved.

For example, a recent Cato Institute policy analysis revealed that Sausalito, California school district tax payers who "invested" $12,300 per pupil were rewarded with the lowest student test scores in the country.

Alarmingly all too similar, the Pennsylvania Legislature's Costing Out Report guesstimates that it will now cost $12,057 per pupil to bring statewide academic performance up to par with national standards.

Rather than relying on the mirage of expanded gaming revenue to avoid future astronomical property tax increases, Pennsylvania students and taxpayers deserve a fair and flexible solution leading to comprehensive educational funding reform.

Taxpayer-funded costing out study or not, the school property taxes remains one of the most unfair and completely immoral taxes since it is completely disconnected from the taxpayer's ability to pay.

However, by replacing our current "pay or you go" funding system with a "pay as you go" system, the School Property Tax Elimination Act (HB 1275) provides a broad-based, same-rate sales tax that allows Pennsylvania's economy to flourish as a 0 percent, School Property Tax FREE Zone, via a tax that is not only progressive but also allows us to remain economically competitive to our neighboring states.

While home values decrease, foreclosures continue to increase. As a result, many school districts are near financial distress because lowering property values are stressing revenue for already under-funded districts.

Again, under House Bill 1275, equality can be restored to each of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts by deriving funds from a voluntary, consumption-based tax based on the broadest public base-virtually anyone that purchases goods and services.
Districts will receive necessary funding, regardless of previous designation as "impoverished districts," through the state's Education Operating Fund to which all sales tax revenue is deposited. Additionally, local school boards will retain the decision-making power to allocate these funds without intervention from the state.

In an effort to make our public schools as efficient as possible, while providing a high-quality, properly-funded education, school districts will have the added advantage of implementing state-of-the-art, data-driven decision making (D3M) technology to accurately measure school spending and academic performance.

Other longstanding, unsolved challenges are fully addressed, such as long overdue equity adjustments that are realized through the designation of gaming revenues; legitimate discipline in spending that recognizes regular and necessary increases, indexing growth rates to sales tax collection; and the inclusion of local voter approval for future borrowing.

Finally and most importantly, true property ownership will be fully restored by House Bill 1275 through the total elimination of the school property tax for every homeowner.

In short, by relying on the flexible and fair, same-rate sales tax, we can restore the Constitutional right to own private property for every Pennsylvanian, while improving the economy of the state and of the individual through the comprehensive reform provided by the School Property Tax Elimination Act.

Join me and 27 taxpayer groups in support of this historic piece of legislation by participating in the Save Our Homes Rally on June 2 from 11:00 a.m. to noon in the Capitol Rotunda. For further information, please visit

State Rep. Sam Rohrer is a Republican who represents the 128th House District in Berks County.

Rendell's brain is leaving

You remember how the media used to refer to Karl Rove as Bush's brain? Well, there's a similar official in the Rendell administration.

Budget Secretary Michael J. Masch is leaving to take a job as chief business officer for the Philadelphia School District. (Masch spent eight years with Rendell in Philadelphia, then followed Rendell to Harrisburg.)

Another sure sign that Gov. Ed Rendell is a lame duck: The man who has done much of the heavy lifting for Rendell since 2003 is bailing out.

Masch has been the architect of Rendell's fiscal policies for the past five years. Rendell admitted so much in a press releasing announcing Masch's departure.

"He was integral to framing the initiatives of this administration," Rendell said.

Rendell credited Masch with driving down the cost of operating state government "by more than $1.5 billion, with most of these savings coming from groundbreaking new ways to manage our Medicaid and related welfare resources."

Rendell neglected to mention the $7 billion in new state spending, plus billions in new taxes and billions in new borrowing.

Can Masch turn around the financially troubled Philadelphia School District? Unlikely. He won't have unlimited funding to tap into like he did in Harrisburg and Rendell's influence is growing weaker by the day.

And what about the 2008-09 state budget? I suspect Masch saw the handwriting on the wall a long time ago. The Rendell budget is DOA. It will never get through the GOP-controlled state Senate.

Masch is getting out while the getting is good. Expect more of Rendell's top staffers to jump ship... especially as rumors continue to swirl about Rendell taking a job in the next Democratic presidential administration.

Teen Driver Crashes Cost $34 Billion Annually in U.S.

I cringe every time I see a teen behind the wheel of a car. Nobody under 18 should be given a driver's license in this country. The study mentioned below talks about the monetary loses, but let's not forget all the lives destroyed by teen drivers.

Teen Driver Crashes Cost $34 Billion Annually in U.S.


An interesting letter to the editor published in today's edition of The Mercury by one of my favorite letter-writers, John Swartley of Limerick. Mr. Swartley gives us a quick history lesson from the 1700s to Ed Rendell's reign as governor of Pennsylvania. Swartley also makes a convincing case that property taxes are nothing more than legalized "blackmail" by the government.

Read the full letter below:

Property taxes are 'blackmail'

The year was 1772 when my first ancestor, Johann, arrived at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. The Reverend Henry Rosenberger paid 20 pounds and 10 shillings for his passage and in turn, Johann agreed to work three years on Rosenberger's farm. Johann's purpose in coming to America was to buy and own land to farm, which wasn't possible in Germany.

Owning land is a basic fundamental freedom and is what made America great. Somewhere along the way between now and then, the public school system was invented and since not everyone was in favor of paying for the system, politicians invented the property tax. This was the first major loss of freedom in America.

Of all the unconstitutional taxes imposed by politicians, this has to be the most heinous and disgraceful tax ever to be enacted because it's pure "blackmail." You pay up, regardless of your financial ability or out you go.

To make it even worse it's a graduated tax. This is the "jewel" of all taxes for the school system because it gives them a carte blanche to raise taxes every year. I know people who worked in the private sector who switched to teaching because of the guaranteed pay, wonderful benefits and retirement. The move had nothing to do with teaching, just money.

Property owners know by now that Governor Ed "Spendell" and his democratic pals aren't going to vote to repeal the tax because they've sold out to the unions and special interest groups. The way things look for property owners to get relief is to hire our own lobbyist and fight fire with fire, that is – we'll offer bigger bribes to our representatives than our competition does.

The following is a quote by Voltaire on money; "In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give it to the other."

I wonder if my ancestors would immigrate to America today knowing their land could be confiscated by the government.

To Mr. Rendell and his gang, I say: "Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" (False in one thing, false in everything).


What are Matthews & Hoeffel hiding now?

Margaret Gibbons has been covering Montgomery County government for a quarter-century. Very little gets past this seasoned reporter. And she's never one to back down when elected officials are caught doing something questionable.

Gibbons writes about the problems she's been having getting some basic information about the politically-connected members of the county’s new economic development policy task force, which is appointed by the Montgomery County Commissioners (headed by Jim Matthews and Joe Hoeffel).

Not only are Matthews and Hoeffel being secretive about the members of the task force, but they didn't bother to inform anyone of the task force's first meeting, which was supposed to be open to the public.

Matthews and Hoeffel have been on the defensive about the task force, which some have said is another example of cronyism since the duo agreed to a power-sharing agreement.

Read more about the secretive government under Matthews and Hoeffel in Gibbons' latest column in The Mercury.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Video encore of 2008 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference

If you weren't fortunate enough to be among the 500 people in attendance at the 2008 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in April, you can now enjoy video highlights of the two-day event by going to

Lowman Henry has announced that complete video of the 2008 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference speakers and panelists is now a mouse click away on your computer.

Among the speakers at the 2008 event were Pat Toomey, Michael Steele, Grover Norquist, Paul Kengor, Tom Corbett and Lou Barletta. All of their speeches are now online.

Also available online is video of the following panel presentations:
* Pundits, Pollsters & Policy
* The Impact of Special Interests
* Future of Reform
* Market Solutions to Liberal Issues
* Unalienable Rights

Enjoy the video, but there's nothing like being at the conference in person.

Mark your calendars for the 2009 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, March 27 & 28, 2009, at Four Points Sheraton, Harrisburg, PA.

High gas prices got you down?

If you're tired of rising gas prices, add your name to an online petition drive to get Congress off its collective butt and start dealing with the problem.

Nearly 60,000 people have signed their names so far at the Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less. Petition Drive sponsored by American Solutions for Winning the Future, a site founded by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Add your name to the list today and remember all the incumbents on the ballot on Nov. 4.

Rogers quits job to campaign full time for state Senate

How serious is Lance Rogers about winning the 17th District state Senate seat?

Rogers recently quit his job to campaign full time until the Nov. 4 election. That's how serious the independent-turned-Republican candidate is about going to the state Senate.

Rogers plans to knock on 15,000 doors throughout the 17th District between now and Election Day, according to his campaign.

Rogers, an attorney, resigned his position at the Pepper Hamilton law firm "to run a full-time grassroots campaign, introducing himself to voters throughout the summer," according to his campaign.

"Whether its lowering property taxes, making health care affordable or holding politicians more accountable, meeting voters on their doorstep and personally talking to them about their hopes and concerns is the best way to understand the real problems we face in Pennsylvania," Rogers said in a press release.

Rogers notified his law firm on Feb. 26 that he would resign his position, effective May 2.

"Although we are disappointed to see a dynamic and talented colleague leave our firm, we understand the demands of running for political office," said Larry ("Buzz") Wood, a litigation partner at Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia. "We wish Lance the best of luck in his campaign and future endeavors."

Rogers defeated Lisa Paolino in the April 22 GOP primary. He faces state Rep. Daylin Leach, who continues to collect a check from taxpayers while he campaigns for a new job.

The 17th District state Senate seat in Montgomery and Delaware counties is held by Democrat Connie Williams, who is not seeking re-election.

For more information on Rogers, visit his campaign Web site,

You and I will end up paying for 'inconvenient truths'

The United States Senate is debating global warming, which on the list of priorities facing the nation is somewhere around 100.

If you're in the majority of Americans who have not seen Al Gore's climate change fantasy, consider yourself lucky. Unfortunately, the global warming propaganda has reached most of the members of the Senate and they are now planning to pass legislation that will directly impact the pocketbook of Pennsylvania workers already struggling to pay for basic needs like food and gas.

Check out this post, "How Pennsylvania Will Be Affected by the Lieberman-Warner Global Climate Change Legislation," at The Heritage Foundation Web site, to see how much more you will end up paying if the Senate continues to fall for the Al Gore-inspired climate change nonsense.

Higher taxes, lost jobs and skyrocketing utility costs await you if the global warming fanatics get their way. (Pennsylvania stands to lose more than 22,000 jobs if this legislation is passed.)

From The Heritage Foundation:
The Lieberman–Warner legislation promises extraordinary perils for the American economy, should it become law, all for very little change in global temperature…perhaps even smaller than the .07 of a degree Celsius drop in temperature that many scientists expected from worldwide compliance with the Kyoto climate change accords. S. 2191 imposes strict upper limits on the emission of six greenhouse gases (GHG) with the primary emphasis on carbon dioxide (CO2). The mechanism for capping these emissions requires emitters to acquire federally created permits (called allowances) for each ton emitted.
Also check out the "Cold Facts on Global Warming" feature at The Heritage Foundation Web site.

Bad news for Al Gore: The earth is cooling

As the U.S. Senate jumps aboard the global warming hysteria bandwagon, I came across an interesting column by Charlie Reese, the libertarian curmudgeon and climate change skeptic.

In "A cooling world," Reese argues:
Global warming has ceased. In 2005, it was .45 degrees centigrade above the 1961-1990 global average temperature. In 2006, it dropped to .42 centigrade, and in 2007, to .41 centigrade. That's one of many facts to be gleaned from an intelligent and calm book, "An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming," by Lord Nigel Lawson, a British politician and former journalist.

Richard S. Lindzen, Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says of the book: "This brief and elegant book treats the science of global warming seriously, but convincingly shows that whatever view one has of the science, almost all proposed approaches to the putative problem are intellectually deficient, economically absurd and harmful, and morally misdirected at best. Lawson's 'An Appeal to Reason' is an appeal that must be heeded if one is to truly avoid great harm to man and the planet."

Lawson sums up his book with this warning: "So the new religion of global warming, however appealing it may be to the politicians, is not as harmless as it may appear at first sight. Indeed the more one examines it the more it resembles a 'Da Vinci Code' of environmentalism. It is a great story and phenomenal best-seller. It contains a grain of truth -- and a mountain of nonsense. And that nonsense could be very damaging indeed. We appear to have entered a new age of unreason which threatens to be as economically harmful as it is profoundly disquieting. It is from this, above all, that we really do need to save the planet."

Reason has always had an uphill climb against superstition, myth, propaganda and lies. Some people seem to prefer their myths and their lies to the truth, which can often be discomforting. Lawson even points out that there is an element of scapegoating in the global-warming hoopla. He sees it as a way to detract from our real sins, which are against our fellow humans and for which we could be held accountable, by substituting a global force for which everyone is responsible, and therefore no one can be held accountable.

GOP candidate hires Democrat for campaign manager

How's this for bipartisanship?

A Republican candidate for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has hired a registered Democrat to serve as his campaign manager.

Guy Ciarrocchi, who is seeking the 157th House seat, recently announced the appointment of Brian McCarthy as full-time campaign manager.

McCarthy is a former reporter ... and a registered Democrat.

The 157th District consists of Tredyffrin and Schuylkill townships and Phoenixville in Chester County, and Lower Providence and portions of West Norriton in Montgomery County.

The seat is held by Republican state Rep. Carole Rubley, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Read more about Ciarrocchi's decision in The Phoenix.

For more on Ciarrocchi's campaign, visit

Thanks a Democrat for rising gas prices

Don't forget to thank the Democrats who control Congress for doing absolutely nothing to stem rising gas prices.

33-Cent Monthly Rise in Gasoline Keeps Oil's Foot on Drivers' Necks

Obama exposed

Where does Sen. Barack Obama stand on abortion, taxes, health care, crime, education? You don't want to know.

Stay on top of the latest revelations about the International Man of Mystery who hopes to be come the next president of the United States at

Check out NEPALibWatch blog

I came across a fun and informative blog called NEPALibWatch, which bills itself as "Grassroots Conservative news by the people, for the people."

The blog's title is short for North East Pennsylvania Liberal Watch. I don't know how many liberals call NEPA home, but I'm glad to see somebody is keeping an eye on them.

I loved the most recent post, "Whatchoo talk'in about Barack," about Sen. Obama's increasing habit of making idiotic remarks.

And Democrats have the nerve to question John McCain's age? It appears Sen. Obama is suffering from early senility with some of the insipid statements he's made in recent weeks.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Folmer: Expand sales tax to eliminate property taxes

State Sen. Mike Folmer, a Republican who represents parts of Lebanon and Berks counties, submitted the following Letter to the Editor to the Reading Eagle. Folmer makes a good case for eliminating property taxes in favor of expanding the state sales tax.
Expanded sales tax is fairest approach


In response to Mary Young's and John D. Forester Jr.'s columns on property taxes ("Property taxes cause despair," Reading Eagle, May 17, and "Are Berks taxpayers out of step in state?" Reading Eagle, May 18, respectively): We can eliminate this onerous burden, beginning with school property taxes.

A high hurdle stands in our way: reaching consensus on how to generate the nearly $10 billion needed to replace school property taxes.

I agree with Rep. Samuel E. Rohrer that an expanded sales tax is the fairest and most economically sound approach. The chief obstacle in getting Rohrer's plan through the House is disagreement over which items should be exempt from the sales tax.

With each item exempted, the goal of eliminating the property tax without a painful tax shift gets further out of reach.

That's why Rohrer's most recently defeated plan increased the personal income tax by 0.85 percent, shifted the 6 percent hotel occupancy tax to schools and altered the 0.5 percent realty transfer tax.

The time has come for the General Assembly to refocus its effort to a simpler plan.

I look forward to working with Rohrer and others to achieve this goal once and for all.

State Sen. Mike Folmer,

Still time to take part in taxpayer rally

Bus transportation is being arranged by the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition to take residents to the Save Our Homes Rally at the State Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg on Monday, June 2. The rally starts at 11 AM.

This could be the last chance this year to get the Legislature to act on property tax reform.

From Pottstown Area:

Bus will be leaving from the Wal-Mart in the Pottstown Center on Shoemaker Road at 8:30 AM. Contact Gene Endress of the PCTA's Owen J. Roberts taxpayer group at

From Reading Area:

Bus will be leaving from the K-Mart at Rt. 222 and Rt. 724, Shillington, at 8:30 AM. Contact David Baldinger of the PTCC at

From Lancaster County Area:

Bus for the Eastern Lancaster County/Western Chester County area will be leaving from the Christiana Fire House at 8:30 AM with a pickup stop in Lancaster city. Contact John McCartney of the PCTA's CLASTA group at

From York County Area:

Bus will leave from the Southeastern York County area (Delta, Fawn Grove, Peach Bottom) with a pickup stop near York City. Contact Margie Lavin of the PCTA's SETRC group at or Warren Bulette of the PCTA's YCTC group at

Blame Democrats for high gas prices

This is a letter to the editor from The Mercury. This guy makes a lot of sense.

Blame Democrats for high gas prices
To the editor:

I keep hearing how most people are blaming the president and the Republicans for the high fuel prices. If you look at the facts, you’ll see it’s not so.

A few years ago, the president backed an energy bill that would have increased domestic energy production including drilling for oil in the ANWR region of Alaska. Environmentalists succeeded in blocking this bill as it failed in the Senate by one vote.

In 2006, the Democrats took over Congress and many of the supporters of domestic oil drilling were defeated. Since that time gas prices have gone up over a dollar a gallon with nothing proposed to stop it.

Most Democrats do not understand that we need to increase the supply of oil in order to bring the price down. Instead they want to put a windfall profits tax on oil companies which was tried by President Jimmy Carter and led to oil shortages and even higher prices.

If Democrats increase their numbers and win the presidency, oil prices will only come down after we go through a major recession which will kill the demand.


Soldier from PA killed in Afghanistan

Gov. Ed Rendell has ordered state flags to fly at half-staff in honor of a U.S. soldier from Pennsylvania who was killed in Afghanistan last week.

First Lieutenant Jeffrey F. Deprimo died May 20 in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

"On behalf of all Pennsylvanians, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of First Lieutenant Deprimo, who gave his life to protect and defend our freedom," Rendell said in a written statement. "In his honor, we will lower state flags here and in Luzerne County as a symbol of our respect for his courage, his bravery, and his sacrifice."

Deprimo, 35, of Pittston, died from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was serving with B Company, 3rd Battalion, 103rd Armor Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, according to the governor's office.

Real Clear Politics Op-Ed by Jack Kelly: Obama Obfuscates On Chavez & FARC

Real Clear Politics Op-Ed by Jack Kelly: Obama Obfuscates On Chavez & FARC

RNC: Home Improvement? Will Barack Obama Give American Homeowners the Same Sweetheart Deal That His Millionaire Friend Gave Him?

The more you find out about Barack Obama, the more you realize he's nothing but a politician who made all sorts of deals to get where he is.

RNC: Home Improvement? Will Barack Obama Give American Homeowners the Same Sweetheart Deal That His Millionaire Friend Gave Him?

GOP: Cut taxes to stimulate PA economy

State Rep. Tom Quigley, R-Montgomery, and the House Republican Policy Committee are hosting a public hearing on the Economic Stimulus Tax Cut proposal, which would roll back Pennsylvania's personal income tax (PIT) rate.

The event starts at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the community room of the Pottstown campus of Montgomery County Community College, 101 College Drive. The public is invited.

"This legislation takes a big step toward controlling government spending and our being better stewards of Pennsylvanians’ hard-earned money," Quigley said in a written release announcing the meeting. "Even more so during the difficult financial times we are experiencing, it is important to keep more of our citizens’ dollars in their own hands."

The bill reduces the PIT to 2.935 percent from the present 3.05 percent rate and will save Pennsylvania taxpayers more than $270 million annually.

"The state experienced a revenue surplus of $649 million last year, and the current fiscal year to date has been a good one," Quigley stated. "That sounds like over-taxation to me and should translate into revenue returned to our constituents."

The proposal also implements Compete PA business tax relief, which includes removing the cap on net operating losses and shifting from a 70 percent to a 100 percent sales factor for calculating the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax, Quigley said. "In addition, House Bill 2270 reduces the consumer electric gross receipts tax by 50 percent, phasing in over five years."

"Governor Rendell likes to talk surplus and the lack of need to raise taxes," Quigley added. "Those extra dollars belong in the wallets of the people who worked for them and with the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy, not as part of some pet project. Enacting this legislation means more money in the pockets of Pennsylvanians and makes for a better the business climate, a condition that has not existed during the Rendell administration."

Quigley is a member of the House Finance Committee.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Liberals dominate PA Congressional delegation

HT to the Save The GOP blog for a post on the most recent Congressional rankings by The American Conservative Union.

In the House, the following members of the Pennsylvania delegation scored zero, which means they're as liberal as you get:

Rep. Bob Brady, D-1st Dist.; Rep. Chaka Fatah, D-2nd Dist.; and Rep. Joe Sestak, D-7th Dist.

Not far behind were such liberal luminaries as Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-8th Dist.; Rep. John Murtha, D-12th Dist.; Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-13th Dist.; and Rep. Mike Doyle, D-14th Dist.

Over in the Senate, Democrat Bob Casey was ranked as one of the most liberal members. No surprise there. Republican Sen. Arlen Specter was in the middle of the pack, surprising for one of the most notorious RINOs in Congress.

Also of note, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama finished among the most liberal members of the Senate in the 2007 ACU rankings.

To check out ratings by state, go to

Pennsylvania's chief bully

Following in the footsteps of reformers Tim Potts and Russ Diamond, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Brad Bumstead piles it on Ron Castille, the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Writing about Castille's threats regarding the lawsuit brought by the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters against former Chief Justice Ralph Cappy, Bumstead says:
The statement by Castille smacked of intimidation.

It's understandable that Castille might see fit to deny the charges on behalf of the court. But his threat only gave new life to the issue.
Read "Castille's bully bench" here

Another hidden tax on Pennsylvania residents

Nearly 2,000 inmates who could be serving time at one of 27 state prisons are sitting in county jails, costing local taxpayers thousands of dollars a day, according to The Allentown Morning Call.

The cost of housing and feeding these "state-eligible" prisoners is a drain on county budgets, which are paid largely by property taxes.

As if you needed another reason to support the elimination of property taxes.

Read the full story, "Doing state stint on county's dime," by reporter Scott Kraus here

James Baker commencement speaker at The Hill School

Former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III was the speaker for the 157th commencement ceremony at The Hill School in Pottstown.

Baker graduated from The Hill School and also had the pleasure of seeing his granddaughter graduate with the class of 2008.

Revolutionary thinking is needed to help the United States deal with the many challenges of the 21st century, Baker told the graduates.

From coverage of the talk by reporter Evan Brandt:
The United States has led a "revolution of thought" in the field of technology, an ideological revolution that resulted in "the peaceful conclusion to the Cold War," and has "supported democratic revolutions in many countries."

"What," Baker asked, "will be your generation’s revolution? What will be your individual revolution?"
Read the full story in The Mercury.

(That's Baker with his granddaughter, Mary Stuart Clarke Baker. Photo by Daniel P. Creighton/The Mercury)

What the FARC Was Obama Talking About?

What the FARC Was Obama Talking About?

Remarks by President Bush at Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Commemoration

Remarks by President Bush at Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Commemoration

Memorial Day 2008: 'Altogether Fitting and Proper'

In honor of Memorial Day, I'd like to share this guest column by Lowman Henry on the true meaning of the holiday — "A time to remember those who paid the ultimate price for freedom."

'Altogether Fitting and Proper'

By Lowman S. Henry

As a young boy growing up in the coal patch town of Herminie, Pennsylvania, the first holiday of the summer season was always an exciting one. Both my father and my mother were active in the local VFW post, so our family was always involved in preparations for the parade which would make its way from the VFW at one end of town to the fire hall at the other end.

This was not exactly a long distance, actually only a few blocks. But at that age marching with the scouts it seemed like quite a hike. The whole town gathered in front of the fire hall where red, white and blue wreaths adorned the town's memorial. There appropriate words were said about the sacrifices made for our freedom. And then, the pop-pop-pop of the honor guard's guns pierced the calm followed by the mournful strains of taps.

This same scene will play out again this Memorial Day in towns big and small all across America. Before adjourning to our backyard barbeques or hitting the mall for the day's shopping specials, many — hopefully all — Americans will take the time to reflect on the real reason for the holiday.

Our country has not always had a Memorial Day, although we have since the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord had heroic war dead deserving of the honor. Memorial Day as it is now celebrated had its origins in the Civil War era.

President Abraham Lincoln set the tone for the concept of a Memorial Day while delivering his address at the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Noting that the gathering took place on a great battlefield of the civil war, Lincoln explained that: "We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that a nation might live."

The President went on in the most eloquent language of the ages to talk of the "brave men, living and dead, who struggled here" and how they "have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract." Lincoln thus gave rise to the concept that those who have died, and those who have served our nation, engaged in a "noble" task worthy of our honoring.

General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former soldiers and sailors, is generally credited with organizing the first Decoration Day, the name by which Memorial Day was first known, on May 30, 1868. General James Garfield, who would later serve as President of the United States, was the featured speaker at the first Decoration Day services held at Arlington National Cemetery. Following the services, more than 5,000 citizens helped decorate the graves of both union and confederate soldiers.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the small town of Boalsburg — located near State College — had already established a Memorial Day tradition. According to legend, a teenaged girl by the name of Emma Hunter was laying flowers at her father's grave when she met an older woman, Elizabeth Meyer, who was placing flowers on her son's grave. The two women met, exchanged personal stories, and agreed to meet again the same day the following year. Others learned of the plan which grew into an event involving the entire town and a commemoration was held on July 4, 1865. The idea caught on and the rest, as they say, is history.

Unfortunately for tiny Boalsburg, history gives credit to Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of Memorial Day. President Lyndon Johnson issued a declaration of such in 1966 because Waterloo made it an official community celebration on May 5, 1866. Thus, although Boalsburg held the first Memorial Day observance, the lack of official town action cost it formal recognition.

Regardless, the concept of setting aside one day each year to honor those who have died in the service of our nation has become an annual tradition. But, it was not until 1971 when Congress re-declared Memorial Day a national holiday that it came to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.

It is as President Lincoln said, "altogether fitting and proper that we should do this." On Memorial Day we should not only pause to remember, but we should heed the balance of Lincoln's words uttered that cold November day in Gettysburg. Lincoln appealed to the nation to "be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on."

The President was reminding us that the best way to honor our dead is for us to make sure the cause of freedom for which they died "shall not perish from the earth."

Lowman S. Henry is chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Columnist: Rendell clueless on Voter ID

You see. I'm not the only person who thinks Ed Rendell is clueless on most issues facing the Commonwealth these days.

Gil Spencer, a columnist for the Daily Times in Delaware County, takes the governor to task over the Voter ID issue.

Rendell vetoed Pennsylvania's Voter ID law. Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a similar law in Indiana. These laws are designed the confront the growing voter fraud industry perpetuated by the Democratic Party.

From Spencer's column:
Rendell said such a law would be found unconstitutional. Wrong again, Ed.

But then Rendell doesn't seem particularly offended that our current laws don’t do much to deter voter fraud.

Maybe because, when it comes to such chicanery, he believes more Democrats would be implicated than Republicans.
Read the full column, "Rendell clueless on voter ID legislation," here.

Russ Diamond: 'Disorder in the Court'

A guest column today by Russ Diamond on the lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and threats made by Chief Justice Ron Castille against the League of Women Voters and its attorney for bringing the lawsuit.

Disorder in the Court
By Russ Diamond

Any hope for independent and impartially dispensed justice in Pennsylvania took a turn for the worse this week, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ronald Castille further revealed his true temperament in response to yet another round of criticism of the Court.

Bristling over a federal lawsuit filed by the apolitical League of Women Voters alleging stunningly corrupt actions by former Chief Justice Ralph Cappy that violated the League's due process rights, Castille threatened to use the iron fist of disciplinary action against League attorney Paul Rossi.

The outburst was a repeat of Castille's thinly veiled threat against Duquesne law professor Bruce Ledewitz last year after Ledewitz rightly called the Court's ruling retaining its clearly unconstitutional pay raise a "judicial swindle." That threat, made in the form of a letter to the law school that shocked the public and the Chairman of the Senate State Government Committee, led a Pittsburgh newspaper to cast Castille in the role of a "petty tyrant."

Last December, Castille prematurely divulged information about a Court decision regarding casino owner Louis DeNaples to a Philadelphia newspaper columnist outside a bar in New York City. The League's suit alleges that Castille made a similarly inappropriate early admission regarding the Court's 2006 slots law ruling with a "wink and a nod" to a member of the General Assembly.

In April, Castille lashed out at the Senate for its unwillingness to rubber-stamp the Governor's unilateral picks to fill four vacant seats on the appellate courts. For someone who proclaimed a desire to de-politicize the Court upon ascending to its top spot, Castille has only further embroiled the entire judicial system in petty political battles.

In the unlikely event the League's allegations are found to be completely baseless, the public threat to its counsel by Castille poisons any subsequent disciplinary action that may be undertaken. His indiscretion regarding not-yet-public rulings is a sign of an inability to deliver the dignity his position demands. His aggressiveness toward the Senate indicates a level of impatience unacceptable for any sitting judge.

Considering that the Supreme Court ultimately lords over the entire judicial system, the legal profession and the disciplinary processes for judges and lawyers, how can any Pennsylvanian have confidence in the courts with Castille at the helm? How can any citizen enter any court of this Commonwealth and expect rational justice to be dispensed while Castille is ranting and bullying from the apex of the judicial pyramid?

Less than five months into his tenure as the state's top judge, Castille's conduct indicates that he is not suited for the position. Although he expects Pennsylvanians to respect his authority, such authority must first be wielded with respectability.

While the League's federal complaint illustrates some of the underlying reasons for Pennsylvania's crisis of confidence, Castille's thuggish approach exacerbates it.

Pennsylvania cannot afford to wait until 2013 — when Castille is scheduled for a retention vote — to clear the decks and start rebuilding citizen confidence. For the good of the Commonwealth he should resign, effective immediately, and allow another jurist with a more appropriate temperament assume the duties of Chief Justice.

In the absence of a voluntary resignation, members of the General Assembly who are truly concerned about Pennsylvania's future should explore the possibility of removing Castille from office for his short but shockingly effective role in undermining public confidence in the judicial system.

Russ Diamond is founder and chairman of PA Clean Sweep, a citizens group pushing for reform of Pennsylvania government. Fore more information, visit

100 days to go until GOP Convention

How Are You Serving a Cause Greater Than Your Own Self-Interest? GOP Convention Marks 100-Days Out with Call for YouTube Entries

Veterans urged to wear their medals with pride on Memorial Day

While you're enjoying a day off from work or school Monday, take time to recall what the day is about.

Remember the sacrifices our men and women in uniform have made for their country and are still making to this day.

God bless our veterans. God bless our armed forces.

America Recognizes Military Sacrifices on Memorial Day:

I thought Al Gore invented the Internet

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is hosting a conference on the future of the World Wide Web on June 11. A lot of big names will attend, but I didn't see Al Gore's name on the list of speakers. I thought he took credit for inventing the Internet. Or was he the guy who discovered global warming?

The Future of the Web: An Old-Fashioned Debate With a Social Media Twist

Friday, May 23, 2008

Obama is turning into John Kerry right before our eyes

It's getting harder to keep up with all the statements, flip-flops, explanations and contradictions coming from Barack Obama these days. This guy is all over the map. He says five different things about a single issue during the course of the day and then his handlers have to explain what Obama really meant.

RNC: Obama's Bad Week on Preconditions

Blame Democrats, not oil companies, for high gas prices

Another must-read editorial in Investor's Business Daily about the real culprits behind rising gasoline prices in the United States. Hint: They are led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

From "Blame Washington, Not Oil Companies" --
Congressional ignorance of basic laws of supply and demand is at once bizarre, breathtaking and frightening. For example, the American Thinker Web site this week took note of a speech delivered by New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer on May 13. In it, he urged the U.S. to force Saudi Arabia to pump a million barrels a day more of oil — which Schumer claimed would slash the price of crude by $25 a barrel.

What Schumer didn't say was that 1 million barrels is exactly the amount of extra oil the U.S. would today be pumping if President Clinton hadn't vetoed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 1995. Despite this, Schumer still opposes drilling in ANWR.

As for those massive oil profits, Democrats want to slap Big Oil with a "windfall profits tax." In fact, since 2002 the U.S. oil and natural gas industry has earned about 8.1 cents per dollar of sales — exactly the same as all U.S. manufacturing, excluding autos. Not much of a windfall.
Read the full editorial here.

Guaranteed to boost mass transit ridership

If you're wondering why this young lady is doing on this train platform all by her lonesome, she is modeling a colorful number from the the Sex and the City Lingerie collection by Cosabella. The "Samantha" styles, including this lacy, passion-fruit ensemble, are the boldest and raciest from the collection, according to the designer. I still say mass transit ridership would skyrocket if the conductors looked (and dressed) like this.(AP Photo/Cosabella)

GOP lawmakers push for tax cuts

State Rep. Tom Quigley, R-Montgomery, and the House Republican Policy Committee are hosting a public hearing on the Economic Stimulus Tax Cut proposal, which would roll back Pennsylvania's personal income tax (PIT) rate.

The event, which starts at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 28, will be held in the community room of the Pottstown campus of Montgomery County Community College, 101 College Drive.

"This legislation takes a big step toward controlling government spending and our being better stewards of Pennsylvanians’ hard-earned money," Quigley said in a written release announcing the meeting. "Even more so during the difficult financial times we are experiencing, it is important to keep more of our citizens’ dollars in their own hands."

The bill reduces the PIT to 2.935 percent from the present 3.05 percent rate and will save Pennsylvania taxpayers more than $270 million annually.

"The state experienced a revenue surplus of $649 million last year, and the current fiscal year to date has been a good one," Quigley stated. "That sounds like over-taxation to me and should translate into revenue returned to our constituents."

The proposal also implements Compete PA business tax relief, which includes removing the cap on net operating losses and shifting from a 70 percent to a 100 percent sales factor for calculating the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax, Quigley said. "In addition, House Bill 2270 reduces the consumer electric gross receipts tax by 50 percent, phasing in over five years."

"Governor Rendell likes to talk surplus and the lack of need to raise taxes," Quigley added. "Those extra dollars belong in the wallets of the people who worked for them and with the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy, not as part of some pet project. Enacting this legislation means more money in the pockets of Pennsylvanians and makes for a better the business climate, a condition that has not existed during the Rendell administration."

Quigley is a member of the House Finance Committee.

Roggio finally says he's sorry

"I'm sorry ... so sorry ... please accept my apology."

If Brenda Lee could ride ride those words to the top of the charts, why did it take Bob Roggio, the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District, three days to say he was sorry?

Roggio finally apologized to U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach for criticizing the congressman on Monday because Gerlach missed some votes in Washington D.C., the previous week. Gerlach was back in Pennsylvania to attend his mother's funeral. That's a pretty good reason for missing work.

But Roggio's campaign not only didn't bother to do its homework before blasting Gerlach, but the campaign refused to apologize for at least three days. It didn't help that the apology came only after Gerlach wrote a letter to Roggio suggesting an apology was in order.

The whole incident brings into question Roggio's judgment and the competence of his staff. Is this the kind of person residents of the 6th District want to represent them in Congress?

Read more about the political gaffe at The Bulletin

Bill Shaw at WRITEMARSH! agrees that Roggio took too long to fess up to his mistake.

Only 2 things wrong with Congress

State Capitol Roundup for May 23

Here's this week's State Capitol ROUNDUP, a summary of events in Harrisburg, courtesy of state Rep. Bob Mensch, R-147th District:

Turnpike Bid Released

Gov. Ed Rendell has announced the winning $12.8 billion bid for a 75-year lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The offer, which comes from an investment group led by Citi Infrastructure Investors and the Barcelona, Spain-based Abertis Infraestucturas would presumably generate about $1.1 billion a year for the next decade. Many House Republicans are interested in the plan, but remain cautious because they have not yet seen all the details and question the viability of Rendell's numbers. While the governor has said the offer is on the table until June 20, legislative leaders believe more time will be needed to fully vet the proposal. In the meantime, the Turnpike Commission has not yet responded to a request from the federal government to provide more information on the state's application to toll Interstate 80.

Negotiations Continue to be Delayed on State Budget

Another week has passed, leaving legislators with only 38 days to enact a state budget before the June 30 deadline. House Republicans continue to press for a vote as Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), the Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is seeking closed-door budget negotiations. The budget proposal, House Bill 2380, has now been sitting in the House Appropriations Committee for more than two months and has seen no action. As the majority chairman of the committee, Evans has the power to move the budget bill forward but is instead holding the process hostage. In light of the delay, lawmakers took the opportunity to gather input from business and industry leaders at a House Republican Policy Committee hearing this week. Testimony reinforced the need to address the slowing economy through tax cuts that would put more money in taxpayers' pockets and make the state more competitive in an ever-changing employment market. For the latest news on the state budget, visit

House Republicans Investigate Access to Maternity Wards and Neonatal Care

In a meeting of the House Republican Policy Committee, lawmakers turned their attention to a serious lack of accessibility to hospitals offering maternity care. Since 1995, 36 Pennsylvania hospitals have stopped offering maternity care. The number of obstetricians has fallen in recent years, a trend expected to continue for at least the next five years. House Republicans view this as another sign that Pennsylvania's health care system is in drastic need of attention. Maintaining access to care, lowering the cost of care and protecting the doctor-patient relationship are all key components to a Republican health care plan. For details, visit

PA GOP calls for Congressman's resignation

In light of U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski admitting that Democrats lied to the American people about the war in Iraq to gain control of Congress in 2006, Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Robert A. Gleason Jr. is asking for Kanjorski's resignation.

Gleason released the following statement:
"In light of his admission that he and other members of the Democrat Party lied, I believe that Congressman Paul Kanjorski should do the honorable thing and resign immediately. He violated the trust of the people of his district and betrayed them through his purposefully deceitful remarks. I demand that other members of the Democrat delegation come clean as well and let the public know if they were part of this conspiracy.

"Paul Kanjorski said that the Democrats 'stretched the facts' for political reasons during the 2006 election cycle. As a veteran, I find Congressman Kanjorski's admission to lying about the facts of the War startling. The fact that Paul Kanjorski and the Democrats put their own political interests and thirst for power above the lives of the brave men and women fighting to protect our country sickens me. By misleading the nation and the world about the progress being made in Iraq, Kanjorski and the Democrats put the lives of our troops in danger, and they should be deeply ashamed of themselves. This is a sad day in American political history."
At a recent event, Congressman Kanjorski told a crowd the following about the Democrats 2006 election strategy:
"I'll tell you my impression. We really in this last election, when I say we...the Democrats, I think pushed it as far as we can to the end of the fleet, didn't say it, but we implied it. That if we won the Congressional elections, we could stop the war. Now anybody was a good student of Government would know that wasn't true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts...and people ate it up."
Kanjorski's opponent in November is Lou Barletta, the crusading mayor of Hazleton, Pa.

You can watch video of Kanjorski at

Congressman: Democrats lied to win election

The Associated Press is moving a story today about a video clip of Rep. Paul Kanjorski saying Democrats "sort of stretched the facts" in the 2006 election about the party's ability to end the Iraq war.

Kanjorski, a 12-term Democrat from northeast Pennsylvania, also said "the temptation to want to win back the Congress" was so great that Democrats implied they could win the war, even though students of history would know the party could not, according to the AP.

Let's see what kind of play this story gets in the liberal media on Saturday.

How about a gas tax holiday in Pennsylvania?

Somebody just told Gov. Ed Rendell that a gallon of gas now costs $4.00 in Pennsylvania. The governor could provide Pennsylvania residents immediate relief from the state's 32-cent gas tax, but that's not likely to happen. Instead, the governor is now going to allow gas stations to sell gas by the half-gallon.

Imagine if the state and federal governments would suspend the gas tax over the summer. Consumers would see a 50-cent reduction in the price of a gallon of gas. Don't hold your breath. Politicians don't pay for gas -- you do -- and you'll continue to pay through the nose while politicians go on vacation this summer.

Governor Rendell to Allow Half Gallon Pricing at Some Gas Stations

Foreign policy amateurs running Obama campaign

The last time so many foreign policy rookies were advising a presidential candidate was 1976. His name was Jimmy Carter. An Obama presidency would bring back the Carter years.

Read more from this op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal.

The Obama Learning Curve

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Brion reelected Chester County GOP chairman

While nowhere near as dysfunctional as its neighbors in Montgomery County, the Republican Committee of Chester County has taken some hits in recent years.

Democrats have increased voter registration in Chester County and the GOP has lost key legislative seats once solidly in the Republican camp, including the 19th Senate District and the 156th House District.

Those recent defeats were not enough to force a change at the top. The party has reelected Skip Brion as chairman for the next two years. Brion has led the Chester County Republican Party since 2002.

Brion, a lawyer by profession, faced no opposition at the committee's annual convention Wednesday evening at East High School in West Chester.

"I'm honored to lead the Chester County Republicans," Brion said in a written statement. "The county Republican organization has been recognized as one of the strongest in the Commonwealth and the nation. The committee members are the backbone of this hardworking organization and we’re going to help elect John McCain and every Republican on the ballot this year."

The rest of the GOP leadership team includes Rosie Silva, vice chairwoman; Paul Andriole, treasurer; Mike Steinberger, secretary; Lisa Schnell, assistant secretary; and Leonard Rivera, financial secretary.

Brion has been an active member of the Chester County Republican Committee for three decades. He has been a member of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania since 2000 and served as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1988 and 1992.

Brion is managing partner of Buckley, Brion, McGuire, Morris & Sommer LLP, in West Chester. His other activities include serving as treasurer of Delaware Valley Regional Finance Authority, a member of DNB First Advisory Board, a member of the Board of Directors for SEPTA, and a member of the Board of Trustees for Chester County Historical Society.

He and his wife, Glenda, live in East Bradford Township and have two adult children, Kate and Scott.

Silva, who lives in West Chester, is a lifelong resident of the county. She has been involved in her local community for more than 30 years. She is a member of the board of the Chester County Convention and Visitors' Bureau and the organization's foundation. She has volunteered for Chester County Day and Working Women's Wardrobe.

She has held a number of positions within the Republican Committee of Chester County, including being treasurer and secretary. She has also worked in a number of local, state and national campaigns.

Andriole, a graduate of Lincoln University, is a southern Chester County native. He is a Vietnam veteran who served with the United States Army and received a Commendation for Meritorious Service. He is director of Veterans Affairs for the County of Chester. He has been an independent small businessman for more than 30 years, owning a fast food take-out operation and being a partner in a real estate firm, surveying firm and an information technology firm. He has also been a member of a bank advisory board.

Andriole has served as mayor and a council member in Oxford. He has been a member of the executive committee of the Republican Committee of Chester County for eight years and has been an area chairman.

Steinberger is vice president of First National Bank, developing and managing commercial real estate mortgage and banking relationships. He has been in the banking industry for 24 years, almost entirely in the commercial lending and commercial credit administration areas. He is a graduate of Moravian College and the Rutgers University of Business. Steinberger lives in East Goshen with his wife, Michelle, and two sons.

Steinberger has been active in a number of civic organizations, including the Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund, the East Goshen Preservation Association, Boy Scouts, Rotary, West Chester Business Improvement District and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Chester County.

He served as security staff for the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. In 2002 he was elected a Republican County Committeeman from East Goshen. In 2004 he was re-elected and elected Vice Chair of the East Goshen Committee.

Schnell has been involved in politics since she was six years old growing up in Cape May, N.J. She was secretary of her Teenage Republican chapter in her high school, a member of the Aggie GOP in college and has worked the polls every election since living in Chester County. She serves as a Republican committeewoman from Schuylkill Township. She lives in Schuylkill with her husband, Rick, and four children.

Rivera, who lives in Avondale, is an attorney with MacElree Harvey of West Chester and Kennett Square. He is a graduate of Ursinus College and The Dickinson School of Law.

Rivera has been active in the community, including the Kennett School District, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Southern Chester County Soccer Association. He has been assist vice-treasurer and parliamentarian for the Republican Committee of Chester County, Chester County Republican Latino Coalition Chair and a committeeman.

Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson in Chester County

Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson are among the big-name stars filming "Marley & Me" in West Chester.

Based on the memoir of Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan and his yellow Labrador retriever, Marley, the film is scheduled for a Christmas release by 20th Century Fox. Other cast members include Alan Arkin and Eric Dane.

For an exclusive slide show (18 photos) of the filming, visit The Mercury's Web site.

And did you know Jennifer Aniston spent some of her childhood in Delaware County, where she still has relatives?

Save Our Homes Rally

Bus transportation is being arranged by the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition to take residents to the Save Our Homes Rally at the State Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg on Monday, June 2. The rally starts at 11 AM. This could be the last chance this year to get the Legislature to act on property tax reform.

From Pottstown Area:

Bus will be leaving from the Wal-Mart in the Pottstown Center on Shoemaker Road at 8:30 AM. Contact Gene Endress of the PCTA's Owen J. Roberts taxpayer group at

From Reading Area:

Bus will be leaving from the K-Mart at Rt. 222 and Rt. 724, Shillington, at 8:30 AM. Contact David Baldinger of the PTCC at

From Lancaster County Area:

Bus for the Eastern Lancaster County/Western Chester County area will be leaving from the Christiana Fire House at 8:30 AM with a pickup stop in Lancaster city. Contact John McCartney of the PCTA's CLASTA group at

From York County Area:

Bus will leave from the Southeastern York County area (Delta, Fawn Grove, Peach Bottom) with a pickup stop near York City. Contact Margie Lavin of the PCTA's SETRC group at or Warren Bulette of the PCTA's YCTC group at

Tim Potts on judicial cowardice in Pennsylvania

Tim Potts, who operates the reform site DemocracyRisingPA, weighs in on the League of Women Voters lawsuit against the Ralph Cappy, the former chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the threats made by the current chief justice, Ron Castille, against the League and its attorney.

Potts writes:
"Most people recognize the furtive plotting of the pay raise as an unparalleled act of political cowardice. Less conspicuous is the courage some lawmakers displayed in assisting the League. If the case goes forward, those lawmakers will exhibit a degree of courage that has been absent from PA politics for decades.

Sadly, the chief justices don't understand that they are servants, not masters, and that citizens have a right to know what their government is doing before the fact, not just after. The League's lawsuit must come as a shocking reminder to these arrogant jurists that the government belongs to the citizens, not to them, and we citizens are not going away until we get it back."
Read the full post, "Cappy & Castille Confuse Courage & Cowardice," at the DemocracyRisingPA Web site.

For more views and background on the growing controversy, read my earlier post, "When Judges Are Accused of Breaking The Law," as well as "Cappy & Castille Confuse Courage & Cowardice" at POLICY BLOG and "Lawsuit alleges backroom dealings by Pa.'s former top judge" in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Also, Russ Diamond has something to say about "Disorder in the Court" at

Pennsylvania's Most Endangered Species

ATF Releases 2007 Firearms Trace Data

ATF Releases 2007 Firearms Trace Data

Make phone tax cap permanent, groups urge

Three national taxpayer groups want to see a permanent end to phone taxes that are costing American consumers billions of dollars.

"Phone taxes are out of control in America. Wireless customers pay a crippling $21 billion per year in taxes and fees," the groups said in a statement issued today. "American consumers deserve less taxation and more common sense from their government. We encourage the FCC to move forward immediately with needed reforms to further rein in the runaway Universal Service Fund."

Read more about the effort to abolish the Universal Service Fund at the link below.

Three Leading U.S. Anti-Tax Groups Urge FCC to Make USF Phone Tax Cap Permanent, Impose Reverse Auctions and Waste Crackdown

1,145 Pennsylvania bridges need repair

I have a question for Gov. Rendell.

Did these 1,145 bridges start deteriorating just this week when the governor unveiled bids to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike?

Were these bridges in need of repair during the first four years of Rendell's tenure when he ignored transportation issues?

This is classic Rendell. Ignore a problem until it becomes a crisis. Then strong-arm the Legislature into doing what Rendell wants. He's done it time and time again.

Governor Rendell Releases List of 1,145 Bridges to be Repaired Under 'Rebuild Pennsylvania' Initiative

The Far Left tries to silence talk radio

The Far Left controls most of the newspapers and news magazines in the United States. It controls broadcast television, including PBS (which is supported by tax dollars). The Far Left controls the American public education system. The Far Left controls most colleges and universities. The Far Left controls the Democratic Party. The Far Left most government entities in the United States.

What the Far Left doesn't control is talk radio and the blogosphere, two places where the marketplace of ideas flourishes without interference. The Far Left wants to change the rules of the game. Unable to compete in the open marketplace (witness the failure of Air America), the Far Left wants the government to silence conservative viewpoints.

There is a new effort by the Far Left to silence talk radio by forcing stations to follow the "Fairness Doctrine," a failed policy that requires broadcasters to give greater access to the Far Left.

Read more at the link below.

FCC Rule Endangers Rush Limbaugh, Talk Radio

Karl Rove on 'Obama's Troubling Instincts'

Excellent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by Karl Rove about how out-of-touch with mainstream America Barack Obama appears to be. That's why he can't win among working-class whites. That's why he scares the pants off everyone worried about American foreign policy under an Obama administration.

Read the full column at the link below.

RNC: Obama's Troubling Instincts

Obama's Lobbyist Hypocrisy: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Do you really think it's possible for anyone to reach the pinnacle that Barack Obama has reached and not be beholden to lobbyists and other special interests? If you believe Obama is not owned by lobbyists, you might want to sit out the 2008 presidential election.

RNC: Obama's Lobbyist Hypocrisy

Rendell blinks on judicial nominees

More evidence that Gov. Ed Rendell is a lame duck.

His long-running feud with Senate Republicans over four vacancies on state appeals court may soon be resolved (and not to Rendell's liking).

The Senate rejected the four nominees last week. Senate leaders said the four lawyers from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia offered no diversity in either race, gender or geography. In other words, the Senate Republicans were tired of seeing middle-aged white guys sitting on Pennsylvania's highest courts.

Rendell announced today he won't renominate the four candidates rejected by the Senate to fill temporary openings on the state appellate courts, according to The Associated Press.

Instead, the governor will submit names of new candidates to the Senate sometime next week, the AP says.

Rendell also would not say whether the new candidates will include any minorities, as the Legislative Black Caucus has requested, but said he would not sacrifice quality for diversity, the wire service reports.

A two-thirds majority vote in the Senate is necessary to confirm a judicial nominee. Republicans control the state Senate by a 29-21 margin, although three GOP members voted with the 21 Democrats last week on the original Rendell nominees.