A 4rth of July Message for Property Tax Independence!

When it comes to property tax independence it is perhaps best to look at this in the words of the Grateful Dead “What a long strange trip it’s been!”  Maybe even a little Dylan thrown in to the mix with “The times, they are a changin’”

Some of us have been in this fight for a very long time. Others are new to the fray but regardless of when, we have never seen the momentum that we are now seeing for the cause of Property Tax Independence.  It proves that Jefferson was right when he wrote these words in our Declaration of Independence which would be very apropos at this time of the year:  “accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” Last year Representative Cox used the Declaration of Independence to illustrate the cause and he was correct in the parallel.

Not all revolutions are violent requiring the taking up of arms in defense of our liberty.  Some are fought and won on principle and that has been our strength.  NO TAX SHOULD HAVE THE POWER TO LEAVE YOU HOMELESS!

Senator Argall identified the property tax for what it as when he called it a beast and declared that it is time we drive the stake through the heart of this beast and put an end to it once and for all.

With the re-introduction of the bills this year as HB/SB 76 we have found new friends in this battle.  We are six months into this legislative year and we have cornered the beast.  Those staunch opponents like Mike Turzai have actually admitted that something has to be done.  Kerry Benninghoff, who has successfully used his committee chairmanship to keep the bill trapped in the House Finance Committee, admitted that if there is action in the Senate he will have to release the bill in the House.  We know what will happen if these bills go to the floor for a vote.  What legislator is going to go on the record attacking the homeowners in their district and make that a matter of the records of the general assembly to be used against them in next year’s election cycle?

Now that we cornered the beast the question remains, do we have the wherewithal to do what is necessary to drive that stake through the heart of the school property tax beast and kill it for time and eternity?

To ignore that we have detractors in this fight would be foolish.  There are more than enough special interest groups out there that are opposed to us and others that simply cannot make the connection to the importance of this legislation, perhaps because there is no special perks to special or corporate interest.  Clean bills are a rarity in today’s legislative process.  Even rarer is legislation that is of the people, by the people and for the people.  The closer we get to destroying the beast, the harder those who defend the beast will fight.  We must be prepared.

It is also important to recognize that what we are proposing is radical.   While the premise and purpose of the bill is a simple revenue neutral shift in taxation away from property tax it will force changes in other legislation including the funding formulas to our local school districts at the state level that is now calculated using the property tax (Title 24 of the Pennsylvania Statutes) .  It will also force caps on education spending that have substantive gains.  It forces the pension problem back on the state legislators where they will have to deal with it.  It diminishes the State’s ability to use local property taxation to impose unfunded mandates since those mandates are, in fact, property tax funded mandates.  As far as the sales tax, it provides the consumer with tax choices not available to us in the School Property Tax.  At every step of the way, this challenges the Status Quo of education funding that has existed since the 1960’s.

In the past, the Struggle for Independence regarding the School Property Tax has been something like Don Quixote chasing those elusive windmill dragons.  Perhaps it was the guiding hand of Providence but those previous struggles have trained us to know what will work and the most effective means of slaying the actual dragon.  To that end we have had a most able General in this battle in the form of David Baldinger.  David has rallied us together and formed an amazing and growing coalition of taxpayers across the state and now, in this final hour, he needs us to set aside any differences that may divide us personally and charge forward in the battle for Property Tax Independence.  In doping so David has also provided us with a sterling example of how to mobilize the grassroots behind an issue.

Like most of you, in this struggle, I have heard the heart-breaking stories of people who have lost their homes and others who are in the process.  I have heard from young families who want to move to home ownership but are unable to do so because they can’t afford the school property tax and so remain trapped in rental servitude.  I have heard from farmers who face losing the farm that has been in their families for generations.  This is what Property Tax hath wrought.  Senator Folmer has provided us with some profound words of wisdom when it comes to our legislative bodies in declaring that it’s time we stop sacrificing principle on the altar of self-interest.

Perhaps Providence has also provided us with the inspiration to do so in these words “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

In the race, for the first time, the finish line is well within our view.  I know that we are tired and I know that some of you have been running this race for a very long time.  Would we give up now when the battle’s end is so close in view?  Is this not enough to make us push all the harder to win the day?

On December 23rd, 1776 as George Washington’s troops, ragged and worn out, were preparing plans to engage a body of Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey who had been hired as agents of the British Government to crush the American’s colonial fight for Independence.  Like many in our opposition, these Hessians had no concern for the rights of the colonists to their property but were little more than mercenaries hired out to the highest bidder.  For too long the colonists had endured the plundering of their property by these Hessian Mercenaries and now, in the bitter cold of winter with scarce to eat and not enough shoes to outfit the regiment Washington called for a strategic battle that would test to mettle of our colonial troops.  To that end, Thomas Paine wrote these words in The American Crisis:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

Paine’s words inspired those brave men to respond in victory. On the morning of December 26th 1776  in one of the most famous battles of the American Revolution, the Battle of Trenton, which inspired the now infamous painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware, George Washington and the American troops proved that, as Winston Churchill said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in dog!”.

Over the summer months we will be engaging in an effort to bring Property Tax Independence to the forefront of those non-sponsoring legislators in our home fronts.   A public town hall will be held in Historic Bristol, Pennsylvania in Bucks County which is just about 10 miles south of Washington’s historic crossing.  More town halls are being arranged.  Local efforts are being planned to take this issue out to legislators who are in their districts during this summer break in the General Assembly Session.  All of this summer activity will culminate on a convergence at the state capitol in support of Property Tax Independence so the call is going out to you now.  How important is Property Tax Independence to you?

John Adams, in his letters to his wife Abigail, once said that “There are only two creatures of value on the face of this earth – those with a commitment and those who require the commitment of others.”

As we have relied on your commitment in the past, we again call upon you for such a commitment.  Over the summer months take this issue to your legislators.  On September 24th we are asking you to join us in Harrisburg for an afternoon of Citizen Advocacy and lobbying in securing our Freedom from the oppression of Property Tax Serfdom.  All we have fought for is creating a Tsunami effect and the September demonstration needs to be the resounding crash and floodwaters of all we have done to lead up to that point.  As the waters of a Tsunami covers all, that is what we must see in this movement if we are to push this to the finish line.  For every drop of water missing from that wave the wave becomes incrementally smaller.  Enough drops and the wave has no impact.

So I ask you again.  How important is Property Tax Independence?

Here’s to the Tsunami effect on September 24th!

Property Tax Elimination is necessary if we are to see revitalization of our cities.

York Mayor Kim Bracey, during a recent forum addressing city problems, urged lawmakers to consider meaningful statewide property tax reform, adding that anything other than a complete overhaul of the system would be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Regressive, antiquated, unpredictable, and onerous, school property taxes are the greatest inhibitor to economic and community development. Unchecked spikes in property taxes threaten our city’s momentum and progress.

Our cities are rapidly becoming aware of the inadequacies and inequities of Property Tax and for good reason.  There is only one piece of legislation in Pennsylvania that will bring real reform to Pennsylvania property owners.  That plan is HB 76 and it’s companion Senate version SB 76.  It is the only plan that will bring immediate relief to our cities and our property owners.

The school property tax is often 2/3 of the total property tax.  Because of the higher cost of the property tax this creates unique problems in the cities.  While sheriff sales are happening in all demographics, they are far more common place in the city because of economic factors.

Younger families and the workers in the lower half of the middle income bracket are more apt to purchase a home in the city then they are in the more rural area where homes are more expensive.   Many young people start out in a home in the city.  The rapid increase in school property taxes is making it harder to attract these people to purchase homes because, while they might be able to afford the mortgage, once the property tax is figured in, it’s cheaper to rent then it is to purchase.  Some of the working poor in the cities have abandoned their homes because they can no longer afford the property tax and the higher costs of living.  Those that can still cling to their homes often can not afford to make necessary repairs to their homes contributing to more blighted properties.
The Mortgage foreclosure in the cities where homes are more difficult to sell leaves properties empty for long periods of time.  These homes become even harder to sell because once empty for a long period of time issues with water pipes and other interior structure problems develop.  Empty properties create an  additional burden on the cities with law enforcement and ordinance violations.  An empty property in the neighborhood creates health and safety risks with uncut high grass that becomes breeding grounds for a variety of city critters.  These homes often wind up with broken windows and other additional repair costs, such as breaking into the homes to steal the copper piping that makes the home even harder to sell.  The properties become problems with squatters and are often a temptation for our young people.  All of this is just adds more more financial strain on our inner cities.

Slum lords and out of area landlords buying up properties in the cities as a result of sheriff tax sales is a real problem that adds to transient populations while driving down property values and adding to blighted properties in the cities. Without the property tax, younger first time homeowners might find it easier to purchase a home in the city which creates a more stable community and school environment.

Transient populations in the city is a real problem as much as 30% to 50% of the classrooms having different students in them at the end of the year then they do at the beginning which can interrupt the classroom for local resident students while adding additional costs to local education. A less transient population establishes roots in the community that is good for everyone especially for our schools.

By eliminating the property tax for business, small business may be more attracted to locate into the main street and help revive downtown business.  They’ll have more money to reinvest in their properties removing some of the issues related to financing those repairs on these properties.   The elimination of this tax on the small business allows for expansion which grows competition and this is always healthy for the economy and just good common sense for the consumer.  Small Business growth in our downtown areas creates jobs, improves the conditions in our cities and will make our cities more prosperous and attractive places to do business and live.

The more modest Municipal Tax remains on these properties which will still generate local revenue to municipal governments and by shifting the more expensive school tax to Harrisburg which, according to our State Constitution is their responsibility,  it will be easier for city residents to meet their tax obligations leading to less delinquent property taxes.  Delinquent taxes are commonplace with slum lords who own multiple properties in the cities adding to the expense of collecting the taxes.  A more stable environment of home ownership creates roots in a city that can be translated into stability in the city.  That stability creates an environment that makes our cities more attractive places to live.
A more stable population of property owners is less likely to see crimes of breaking and entering/theft because property ownership is more likely to generate that spirit of community than a transient population with no real ties to the community.

These are just a few of the benefits concerning a shift away from property taxation to taxes based on income and labor where the consumer has more controls.  Sometimes the most common sense approaches to government and taxation are the most difficult to implement.  You can make a difference though.   Watch the following video and then go to http://www.ptcc.us and become part of the solution to making Pennsylvania a better place to live.

Estato Corporativo: America and Fascism

While Fascism is a Twentieth Century word conceived by Italians to describe their political movement it is not really a new concept but one that has existed since civilization began.   Fascism can be evidenced in the Feudal System and in other governments in the past.   Volumes have been written trying to keep fascism in a left vs right paradigm but its roots run much deeper.  In doing so they look at how fascism was implemented in Italy rather than study the root of it’s political ideology.

Central to the concept of Italian Fascism  was Estato Corporativo: the corporatist state. It was a merger of Corporate Power and State where the agenda of Corporatism begins to controls the state through appointed and unelected bodies.  The corporations view of religion through financial gain is how the country must view religion.  The corporations view of social morals through financial gain is how the country must view morality.  The corporations view of every aspect of our life must be controlled in a way that best benefits the financial gains of corporatism.  Right or wrong under this government is then defined by the best interest of the Corporate concerns.  Something once deemed unethical can suddenly become ethical so long as there is financial benefit.

Through this understanding we can better comprehend why there is this battle that exists between trying to push Fascism to the left or to the right.  This is because Fascism can exist in both paradigms but is not confined to one or the other.  Fascism will do everything in its power to promote collectivism for the common good (as defined by them) with complete disregard to the rights of the individual or to accept any sense of Sovereignty in Personhood.  Under Fascism, those who benefit will deliberately ignore abuses to the rights of others as long as they are personally gaining.

In the 1960’s Americans began to grow government through the implementation of a series of Departments, Agencies and Commissions.  While Fascism had been creeping into American Government prior to this, the implementation of this Administrative State of Departments, Agencies and Commissions  began the embedding of Fascism into American Government in every aspect of our life.

The two prime examples of the shift to Fascism in America before the 1960’s  was the creation of the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service.  This essentially created two two appointed bodies that existed outside the traditional roles of Government in America.  It removed them from a system of checks and balances in the Republican Form of Government and it empowered them to legislate through regulations while, at the same time, granting them the power to enforce those regulations.  From this point forward the corporate world would not prosper based on its own merit, effort and worth but would be enabled by the enactment of a series of laws in the form of exemptions.  The partnership between government and the state was sealed.  From this point forward the the sustaining power of both the Government in America and the Corporations would be derived through economic theft of its citizens.

In the 1960’s we launched a War on Poverty.  To do so new powers were granted to departments while creating new agencies and commissions.  To empower these departments, agencies and commissions individuals would be appointed who had a vested interest in promoting a singular view in this issue, many from within corporate factions where they would advance positions that benefit the corporations from which they had emerged.

This then began to implement systems where every aspect of business in America would be controlled (regulated) by the enforcement powers of these administrative bodies granted to them by our legislators.  They would control the environment through the EPA, Farming through the Department of Agriculture, Education through the department of Education, Social Morality through Social Welfare Agencies and the list goes on.

Taxes and deductions (exemptions) would then be formed around what best benefited Corporations often at the expense of the citizen.  Under this form of government right and wrong is now determined through economic benefit and when this happens all manner of immorality can be justified if it makes the nation more prosperous through corporate power while scraps from the table fall to its citizens.

The most obvious is the corruption of right and wrong when it comes to murder.  Under Fascism a woman’s right to choose is championed as a moral right even when that choice rejects any notion of the moral right and wrong of killing a child in the womb.  Under this new morality rights are determined by the government, granting to one group while rejecting the same rights to another group.  Since this obviously can not be equal justice a new term must be created so the Fascist calls it social justice.  Abortion is not a right, it’s an industry but now, under America’s new Fascism it is universally accepted as a right.

While abortion is the most obvious you don’t really have to look hard to see this Corporate State in play in all policy.  In the more recent debate on Illegal Immigration Amnesty we can not address the moral right or wrong on criminal actions in entering the country.  That language is being framed for us and the one thing we are we will never hear is the financial benefit to corporations through granting amnesty to illegals.  If you oppose legalizing the actions of criminals you are a racist.  If you demand border security before we consider Amnesty, you are a racist.    Conservatives opposing Amnesty feed into this every time they say we’ll never have another Republican President and could lose the house if they pass the Amnesty Bill.  Where is the discussion of moral right and wrong.  It’s not there because both the pundits and the major news channels are controlled by Corporations who are deciding policy based on financial benefit to corporations with or no regard to the cost of the citizen.  We aren’t going to secure our borders because there are powerful corporations who benefit by the porous borders and the exploitation of the illegal immigrant.   The danger to National Security then takes a back seat in the discussion.   The harm illegal immigrants do to the working poor in America is irrelevant.  It advances the notion that there is no actual borders to anything which is part of the global agenda of Corporate Control.

We did the same thing with Obamacare-we surrender our healthcare first identifying it as a right while ignoring that it removes our right to choose while it empowers a system where the prime goal is a single payer option that will empower one huge healthcare industry.  We are doing the same thing with Common Core.  Again conservative are crying about the shift to give Federal Control of our public schools while ignoring the obvious benefits to the Education Curriculum Industry and the fact that this industry will be the ones controlling the curriculum.  This is Estato Corporativo.

Why is Data Mining so critical to the implementation of Common Core?  Yes, we need to be concerned about the Federal Governments intrusions into our privacy but the Data Mining process is an industry.  Why do you think you get so many phone calls about reduced energy prices, charity contribution for charities you’ve never heard of or given to, reducing your credit card debt?  Your personal information is being sold to Corporations where they will use that information to develop marketing strategies, no matter how unreliable to separate the citizen from their money.

Central to the Corporatism ideology is the denial of the individual’s right to true ownership of property.  They will fight this every step of the way even if they must demean and ridicule those who stand firm on the principles of the inherent rights.  That is why under this new Fascist America we see the push for Sustainable Development and Common  Core.  Common Core will indoctrinate our children into the implementation of of Agenda 21 as a moral right regardless of the infringements of your inherent and individual rights.

Private Property rights are irrelevant to to Corporatist.  You property is a source of their wealth and the protections to your property are irrelevant if that gets in the way of their prosperity.

I want this to be VERY CLEAR.  I believe in Capitalism and I believe in Free Market Principles.  Corporatism is not Capitalism and it is not Free Market. Corporatism when granted Governmental Powers is Fascism and there is nothing Free Market about Fascism.

Here are just a few of the indicators that America is rapidly becoming a Fascist State:

  • Military Power is used to produce and protect corporate profits abroad.  This power is then expanded to be used against their own people in their own country.
  • Control of the media – Media outlets become little more that propaganda machines for the Fascist State.
  • National Security Alerts.  Anyone opposed to an action by the Government becomes a threat to the National Security of that government.
  • Cronyism – Ex-corporate employees running the administrative State making the laws that are supposed to regulate or check the very industries they are regulating.  This conflict of interest narrows the field of competition which is always bad for the consumer.
  • Fraudulent elections – this is not simply through voter fraud but through the purchasing power Corporations have in buying candidates to run on their singular objectives.
  • Obsession with crime and punishment as defined by corporate concerns. Shifting moral views for economic benefit.  Under Fascism, tradition views of Rule of Law are criminalized to be replaced with new rules of Law that force individuals to reject a higher authority outside the government in deciding what is right and wrong.
  • Intellectualism is determined by compliance to the view of the Corporate Fascist.  Anyone rejecting that view is immediately determined to be non-intellectual, must be demonized and then identified as an enemy of the State.
  • The encouragement of children reporting to their schools ay actions of a parent that defies the Corporate Fascist view of the world.  The parent is then identified as a threat to the child to the point of removing that child from parental controls.

American began denying its role as a Republic at the turn of the 20th century to embrace the notion that we were a democracy.  We have long since left the Democracy mode and in the 1960’s we entered into the phase of establishing an empowering an Oligarchy of elitist rule of the few and in the rejection of every principle that established us as a nation.  That Oligarchy is built around the protections of a Corporate Elite that desires to destroy all competition to their power and control through abuses of their regulatory powers through the powers of enforcement granted to them by the individuals who were elected to represent us.  This is tyranny and it is tyranny realized through Fascism.

Common Core Delay a Political Tactic in Pennsylvania

I received several emails when the breaks were put on Common Core and I responded that I was suspicious of the move.  We are now getting confirmations that this was nothing more than a tactic to get the opposition to Common Core to back off.  The administration, working with the Department of Education, planned all along to wait until the legislative body recessed after the budget session and then move ahead in July with the implementation of Common Core. Without specific legislation repealing Common Core it can not be stopped unless the Department of Education voluntarily stops it and they have ABSOLUTELY NO INTENTION OF DOING SO!  

Peg Luksik sent the following out in an email on 6/7/2013

According to Capitol Wire, the Pennsylvania Department of Education told House and Senate GOP leaders that they had decided to…

postpone submitting the regulations so no action by the General Assembly to stop Common Core would be necessary.  This was NOT a retreat, it was a move designed to stop legislative action. 

And legislative action is what is necessary to stop the education bureaucracy from moving forward. 

At the same time, the Department clearly stated that Common Core implementation would NOT be interrupted.  Department spokesman Tim Eller wrote, “The regulations for the national Common Core and the 10 Keystones were adopted in 2010 and take effect on July 1, 2013. Without adoption of the pending amendments to Chapter 4, the 2010 regulations will take effect.”

They will take effect because the federal government first gave the States an August 2010 deadline for adopting the standards and then gave them three years to move from adoption of the Common Core standards to implementation.  The time line was never in Pennsylvania’s control – it was dictated from Washington. 

In accordance with that mandated time line, the Pennsylvania State Board adopted the Common Core standards on July 1, 2010, setting the three year implementation countdown in motion.

The actions taken by the Department, therefore, were not designed to stop implementation.  They were designed to stop opposition – giving parents and taxpayers the illusion of victory so we would stop working.

Corbett has taken a vow of not raising our taxes as have many of our state legislators.  They boasted that they kept this obligation last year even though many of us have been seeing continually rising property taxes as a direct result of the actions fvrom Harrisburg.  After getting a paltry 41 million of the 645 million necessary to implement Common Core from the Federal Government, Corbett can keep his promise not to raise State taxes by forcing a state mandated program down to the local level through the local option “property taxes”.   This is nothing new.  They’ve done this countless times in the past, most egregiously with the Pension.

The uniformed will them go after the school boards and attack them for hiking up the school taxes when the ones to blame are the Department of Education and the Current Administration.  In spite of this, we still have difficulty in getting many to understand that this is now standard operating procedure and is one of the reasons the school property tax must be eliminated.  Since its implementation the school property tax has been in place to provide local revenue from local citizens to school districts to comply with State Regulations and Mandates.  They call this local control.  The Department of Education was enacted as an enforcement body to bring schools under compliance to the State regulations of the Public School Code.  This they call local control.  The State Department of Education was created to write more mandates and regulations and pass them down to our local schools.  This they call local control.  The School Property Tax was created to make us pay for these mandates and regulations coming out of this appointed body.  This they call local control.

While many are shocked about the 15% wiggle room comment concerning Common Core as far as control by the State, The State has been doing the same thing with our local school districts.  The Massive regulations of the Public School Code enacted in 1949 and Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code do that to our school boards, it gives them a little wiggle room.  That’s not local control, that’s controlling the locals.  The truth is that in most cases the hands of our local school boards are tied.  Then they have the external pressures of the PSEA when it comes to contract negotiations.  Both the Public School Code and Title 22 contain obligatory protections to the PSEA and there is a reason for this.  The Majority of the appointed members of the State Board of Education are proactive supporters of the PSEA and have spent time working for and lobbying for the PSEA before getting their appointed positions.   The local school board understands full well what happens to a community when a school district goes on strike.  They understand the additional cost to the community and will do everything in their power to prevent this, even if that means some residents will lose their homes in the process.

We must taker a serious look at this because there is a problem and its bigger than Common Core.  Common Core is a symptom of a much larger disease and if we don’t cure the disease the symptoms will return.  It’s like putting ointment on a sore shoulder when the problem is really bone cancer.  Yes, there is temporary relief but by ignoring the real problem things only get worse.

The Public School Code originally enacted in 1949 empowered the State Board of Education.  It gave them the power to do exactly what they have done with Common Core.  They did it before…many times.  This time it woke people up because the State Board of Eduction is giving Controls over Curriculum in Education to the Federal Government.  Article 26B, Sections 2601-B through 2606-B of the Public School Code granted the State Board of Education regulatory authority that allows for such functions without oversight by the General Assembly.  Once enacted, the only way to stop it is for the General Assembly to pass legislation that prevents the action from taking place.  This was never the way legislation was supposed to work.

Why would our government create such powers in appointed Agencies?  Well, in short order, when an Administration has something they want to get done without the hassles of going through the legislative branch of the General Assembly, they use these Departments, Agencies and Commissions to get it done.  If something goes wrong The Administration then claims ignorance and then they just throw a couple of these appointees under the bus and fool us into thinking the problem is solved.  Actually in more cases than not the appointee is just moved somewhere else where they will continue to receive pay and benefits.

We are watching this on a grand scale in Washington but it happens at the State level as well.  Both Republicans and Democrats benefit from this system because the special interests, from where these appointments originate, make sure the campaign funding mechanisms stay well-greased and the political operatives also benefit from this.  That is why this is one part of the Common Core problem they won’t talk about.

Take a breath and look around you.  Look at all the intrusions into our lives by all the Departments, Agencies and Commissions.  Look at the countless hearings where our legislative body appears to be clueless of what’s going on and then when violations of our Constitution become evident the legislators scramble to make excuses to protect the Unconstitutional, which means illegal, actions of these appointed bodies.  Why should it come as any shock to us that the same thing is happening to us in our State Government?

Susan Rice lies to the American People and she gets a promotion to another appointed Agency.  We are shocked.  The Deputy Secretary of Education in the State lies to us and we get a deflection tactic.  Again, we are shocked.  Yet so many fail to make the connection, or they’ve made it and refuse to discuss it. In spite of the countless times this happens, the American people somehow think this is a solution and meanwhile the disease just spreads deeper and deeper.   What ever we do the one thing that doesn’t happen is a removal of the very legislation that makes all of this possible, the empowerment of these Departments, Agencies and Commissions.

The Departments, Agencies and Commissions are a tumor in Government that was never intended by our founders.  It is, in essence, a fourth branch of government where our Administrations and legislative bodies can move things without going through the Constitutional Process that has built in checks and balances.

Here in Pennsylvania, the great enabler of all of these abuses concerning education is the school property tax, created by the legislators to separate the controls of our schools away from our municipal governments and place those schools squarely in the hands, not of the legislative body, but in the hands of the appointed Department of Education which is controlled by “elite educators” who are married to the PSEA creating an oligarchy of control without true representation.  They needed a taxing authority to accomplish their Agenda and that was the enactment of the school property tax.  Not only were they going to seize control of our schools they were going to make us pay to enable that seizure.  In the process, they made very sure that they were also going to be well-paid for such actions and that was also funded through the school property tax.

We watch as every external analysis of the quality of Education is steadily declining while the cost of education rapidly increases and then the Department of Education releases an internal report claiming otherwise and people trust them regardless of the number of times they’ve lied to us or the number of times they have pushed their failed programs on us at great financial and quality cost to education.  As in any other extortion racket, if you let the ones committing the extortion write the reports, they aren’t going to admit to what it is they are actually doing.

This is a corruption of the founding principles of our government.  It is a corruption of our educational system and it is a corruption of our schools and it has to stop.  Ointments, band-aids and slings aren’t going to fix this problem because it’s a much deeper problem.

I’ve been told countless times that the school property tax is a just symptom.  To me that’s like saying that smoking is a symptom of cancer.  The School Property Tax is not a symptom, it is the enabler.  It was enacted at the same time they created the Department of Education for a reason and that reason should be obvious to all of us by now.  To use our homes as an extortion tool to rob us of our controls of local education.  Like most progressive assaults on our freedoms and liberties there were the long term goals  and the progressives are a painfully patient lot.  We were warned….

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

It is time to put an end to the fourth unconstitutional branch of government that exists in this Administrative State of Departments, Agencies and Commissions.  It is time to go back into our legislative efforts that have empowered them and repeal those laws.  It is time to remove the financial enablers of these monstrosities that are destroying our nation from within.

Most importantly it is time for Americans to stand and help in this fight to restore a true form of Representative Government.  Essential to this fight is the securing of the protections of our right to truly own our property.  To establish once and for all that governments were instituted for the protections of our right to property not for the purpose of taking as much from that property as they declare.  To establish once and for all that we are a Republic where there is a rule of law in the forms of our State and Federal Constitutions and that under this rule of law we have a representative from of government, not a government with more Departments, Agencies and Commissions than we have elected bodies and not to grant legislative and executive powers to these bodies.

We need to understand that the appeasement of our local governments in surrendering their Sovereignty to the State and our State Governments in surrendering that Sovereignty to the Federal Government is primarily taking place through powers granted to appointed bodies through the granting of regulating authority and the granting of the power to enforce those regulations through a system of government foreign to the founding principles of our State and Country.

We have every reason to be concerned about Common Core but this time let’s not end the fight with the mere repeal of Common Core, let’s do what is necessary to strip the Department of Education of their regulatory powers and put them under the absolute controls of the legislative body where we can keep an eye on what is happening.  As a people we can not be blamed for not standing up to Common Core sooner since it was enacted at closed door meetings out of public scrutiny.  We can, however be blamed for ignoring the open process of a representative government that we deliberately choose to ignore.

Property Tax Independence-Getting us out of the coral and into greener pastures!

During the house hearing  on  Property Tax on June 3, 2013 there were statements made about HB 76.  Statements like “HB 76 does nothing to stop the spending problem”  We hear this a lot and I fully agree that there is a spending problem in education.  The cost of education is growing at an unsustainable level.  Looking at the cost of higher education, outstanding student loans have tripled since 2004 according to Federal Reserve Bank figures. In 2012, public and private student loan levels reached $966 billion.  The long term impact of this is going to severely impact these young people when it comes to buying their first home.  It just one more symptom of rising education costs.

The problem with these types of statements is that these statements are not focusing on the issue of the bill.  HB 76 addresses an antiquated system of taxation that uses real estate to fund education rather than a system of taxation based on product and labor that is supposed to be intended to fund the NECESSARY functions of government.  Those necessary functions are laid out in our Constitutions, both Federal and State.  This system of property taxation has become so intrusive and constraining  that it is a major contributing factor in negatively impacting the housing market with sheriff sales, mortgage foreclosures, reverse mortgages, etc. all on the rise.

HB 76 and its companion legislation SB 76 addresses the moral issue of who really owns our property.  To me, this is the central reason for supporting Property Tax Independence….the moral question.

The reluctance of constitutional minded individuals or those seeking to return to our foundational principles in not supporting this measure is something that has always puzzled me and I think it’s part of the larger problem with why we see so little actually being accomplished.  Pardon my allusion to American History but we seem to want Yorktown without the struggle of a Lexington, Bunker Hill or a Trenton.

Over the years, through our own apathy, we have lived our lives like the young Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.  When asked for his help by Obi Wan Kenobi he says “Look, I can’t get involved. I’ve got work to do. It’s not that I like the Empire; I hate it, but there’s nothing I can do about it right now.”  It isn’t until the evil empire personally impacted him in a clearly defined manner that he was willing to actually take a stand to do what was necessary.  Embracing the notion that there’s nothing I can do about right now is an enabling of what may come as a result of our inaction at this point in time.  To cite a familiar statement  ‘If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem!”

No, Property Tax Independence as seen in HB/SB 76 is not the end all, do all legislation that will magically fix our state but it is a very important part of the strategy to win the war against our Individual, Sovereign and inherent freedoms and liberties.  And make no mistake about it, the destruction of our property rights is all a part of this war that, thanks to the inaction of many,  the elitism of the few are successfully winning.  In most cases there isn’t even a battle, we just surrender.

I fully support Privatization of the Liquor stores.  I firmly believe that our Government should not be in the business of selling Alcohol.  Yet I find it incredibly ironic that so many will blindly get behind any legislation without any real scrutiny of the legislation to fight for their right to buy Alcohol where they want but when it comes to claiming that you are the rightful owner of your property and no government should have any mechanism in place that can tax you out of that home we find the exact opposite.   They have riddled this bill with bullets searching for any minutia for complaint, they have made claims that are simply untrue and they have placed expectations on this bill unrelated to the topic and purpose of the bill.

That purpose: when it comes to school property tax, the most egregious and rapidly expanding aspect of Property Tax, so many would rather do nothing at all, than take a stand for our Sovereign and inherent right to own our property.  They are often uninterested in even having the conversation.

It is true that this plan does not eliminate all property tax.  Yes, County and Municipal property taxes will still be in place.  I would remind you.  This isn’t Yorktown, this is the first necessary step in securing our right to true ownership of property.  It is an insult to many of us when this claim is made as though we will not continue in this war to put an end to all forms of taxation enabling the theft of property through extortion.  It’s not simply a step in the right direction it is a leap forward in the war against property rights that is paramount to our own Trenton where a band of weary soldiers took out the Hessians in their own battle to secure the ownership of their own land and country from the abuses of a government that was attempting to regulate through taxation, every aspect of their life.  Trenton didn’t win our Independence so was the battle not worth the fight?  Is there a historian alive that will not admit that it was a critical part of winning that war?  So again, even though it did not win our total Independence, was that battle not worthy of the fight?

A young political writer at the time looked out over the troops in that cold December and hurried off to Philadelphia to publish a pamphlet that contains these immortal words:

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

~The Crisis by Thomas Paine

There is much talk about the loss of local control and this must also be addressed.  In my opinion most of these claims are both an exaggeration of what local control still exist and a misunderstanding of how the theft of our property through property taxation actually works.  To begin, how can any community claim any sense of local control if the individuals in that community have no control over their own property.    If one individual in that community can lose their right to property through taxation than no individual in that community has any right to make such a claim of local control.

The institutions of the administrative state in our government love the property tax and this is especially true in our educational system.   Through abuses of the local option they have imposed countless failed programs on our children’s education often without legislative control or Constitutional Oversight.  They have done so through appointed bodies who have amassed a body of rules and regulations, most of them unfunded, down to our local schools.  Through this they control the local school districts and in doing so they control how much we have to pay for their continually failing agendas.

I would remind any defender of freedom and liberty that our State Constitution places the full responsibility of a thorough and efficient form of public education in the hands of our general assembly through an elected body of representatives.  This system was not designed to grant them the authority to create a myriad of Departments, Agencies and commissions  and grant those appointed bodies any legislative authority.  The mere fact that we have granted the local non-governing school districts a taxing authority at all should be an affront to us.  If this is a moral use of governmental taxing authority, why have we not done the same for our community hospitals, police departments and more.  We know the abuses that would follow and we were foolish to think that such abuses would not exist through our school districts.

With Common Core the appointed body of the State Board of Education actually has the audacity to boast of the 15% wiggle room allotted to the local school district and then many are actually fooled and ridiculously thankful that the state appointed body has granted them the privilege of 15% to wiggle.  If they own 85% of the control, they control you.  We might wiggle in that 15% but I guarantee we’ll squirm in that 85%.

Common Core was implemented without oversight by the General Assembly and most of them were oblivious to its existence. So were the people who were being duped into paying for it.   We realized immediately the we couldn’t stop it at the local level because inherently we realized that we have no control of this at the local level.  We instinctively knew we needed to turn to our elected and representative body at the state level for legislative intervention.  Yet even with that knowledge we still embrace this notion that somehow we have local control.

Stopping Common Core will not put an end to the overall problem  of the abuses of the State Board of Education and their endless regulations and mandates through Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code so should we not engage in this battle?  It doesn’t address the real problem of education spending, so is it not worth the fight?  I would hope to hear a resounding claim that the battle is most assuredly worth the fight.

HB/SB 76 is related to the Common Core battle.  For decades the State Board of Education has been able to implement unfunded mandates without legislative (elected) representation.  The school property tax is necessary for them to continue to do so.  As revealed in the Senate Education committee hearings on Common Core, the funding mechanism they were going to rely on was the “local option” …. your school property tax.  A shift to a tax on product and labor disbursed to each district based on their current funding will force any major mandates to go before our legislative body for appropriation of funds where we, as a people, will be more easily alerted to abuse.  We could have stopped Common Core in 2010 when it was being planned and imposed rather than wait to learn about it in 2013 after millions in our tax dollars had already been spent in its implementation.  It is a battle we most likely would not have to be fighting right now, but of necessity, must fight because there is a school property tax that allowed it to fall into place to fund it without our foreknowledge or control.

Likewise, there is the Pension Crisis. From its inception, any funding short falls were to be paid through the “local option” …again, your school property taxes.  Without such an option there most certainly would have been more legislative resistance and concern.  Even when reforming Act 1, the local option for Pension funding is still an exemption from our supposed local control through referendum when school districts wish to exceed the limits to their taxing authorities.  Without the local option available to them the creation of this lucrative Pension might have played out very differently.   Our unwillingness to stand then is forcing us to stand now but even in standing now, will do nothing to resolve the massive debt already incurred.  The elimination of the school property tax through HB/SB 76 would kill the need for Act 1 while forcing all new renovations and local school projects to go before the people for referendum restoring elements of real control to the people.  It will no longer be the will and whim of 9 people but the control, through voter referendum of the individuals.

The real question of local control comes down to this simple equation.  The true protections of the rights of any group is dependent upon the protections of the rights of the individuals in that group.  This is true whether it be a community group or a body assembled through representative government.    If you have no real control over your own property than the collective community can have no real control over any property; such control must be relinquished, surrendered, to a higher governing authority who decides who will and who will not be entitled to property ownership.  This is neither republican government nor is it a democracy; it is an Oligarchy where an elite few make all the decision for everyone.  With such power without Constitutional limitations or oversight, which is the true purpose of a republican form of government,  our Sovereign and inherent rights become irrelevant.

There is the moral principle that we have no individual authority to grant appointed bodies or our legislative bodies for that matter, to engage in theft and extortion through taxation.  The Oligarchy that is created might be empowered through a democratic process but that is merely the majority surrendering the protections of the rights of individual to a higher authority and this is usurpation through mob decisions.  Your individual control, your individual rightsbecome irrelevant.  When this happens, as has already happened, there is no longer any such creature as local control.

When this happens local control merely means controlling the locals like sheep in a coral who are deluded to think that their ability to move in that coral is freedom as they ignore the fences and boundaries or the inevitable fate of the sheep in that coral.  Unfortunately too many sheep in that coral think that so long as the wolf doesn’t individually attack them, then there isn’t a problem.  Even more disturbing is the notion under this type of rule is an acceptance that somehow, the sheep now gone from the fold in this coral deserved to be taken as though we have rights but their rights should be ignored.

Isn’t the real reason Obamacare offends so many of us is that its endgame is to remove our choices, our control over our healthcare?  Isn’t the real reason so many of us support Privatization because we don’t think the government should control those decisions?  Isn’t the real reason so many of us support right to work because we don’t believe the government or any other organization should have the right to control those choices?  Isn’t the real reason we have taken a stand on Common Core because we believe that the Federal Government should not be controlling the content of our education?

Why is it then, when it comes to our ownership and control of our property, we see so little real support?

Property Tax Independence will not win the war to restore complete local control to the people but it is a necessary battle in this war and the longer we ignore or attempt to push this down the road, the more battles we will have to fight in the process.  It is a necessary step in tying the hands of those who, for the past 50 years, have treated our property like their own personal bank accounts to fund whatever pipe dream they could imagine.  It is most assuredly a necessary step in untying our hands and getting us out of the coral and into much greener pastures of true freedom and liberty.