You might remember when the gambling efforts were advanced in this state and the promise of property tax relief even to the point of elimination was advanced to sell this Commonwealth into accepting institutionalized gambling. The little bit that was realized from that relief is about to be shattered under the latest proposals from the negotiators in this budget process.
According to news outlets “One new idea under discussion could provide a cornerstone of the cash Wolf is seeking: diverting the roughly $600 million in slot-machine gambling receipts that school districts currently pass along to homeowners as property tax reductions. That stream of money would shift to the state treasury, while negotiators are discussing an increase in the state sales tax to offset reductions in local school property taxes, another concept that is important to Wolf to improve equity in school funding. The new money from a higher state sales tax would replace the diverted slot-machine dollars to schools – and then some.”
So once again we are told that diverting the money that was supposed to go to property tax relief, possibly elimination, is to go into the state treasury and then they’ll raise our sales tax to pick up the lost revenue to the schools from the gambling money. Once again we are told this will bring greater relief than the gambling revenue and all of this is just more misrepresentation of the reality of the problems in this state with the property tax.
Yes, the public school system has a spending problem but I have never understood the disconnect or the inability to see that it is, in fact, the property tax itself, that allows for this spending problem not only to continue but to accelerate faster than other forms of taxation. The government, realizing that people pay less attention to local elections where voter turnout is often much lower during those cycles, has used the property tax to fund the advancement of agendas that are threatening our most fundamental rights to property. Without eliminating the property tax, that isn’t going to change. We will constantly be fighting the spending problem as they look for new ways to extort more money from our homes.
The entire system that supports property tax is flawed, from assessments (both county-wide and the spot assessment system) on down the line. Here in Lebanon County with a court ordered reassessment just a few short years ago we already have a common level ratio applied and the appeals are still on going after three years. It didn’t fix the problem, it made it worse. The appeals process, in turn, becomes an expensive proposal that many homeowners can’t afford to pursue. It’s a system where due process is a joke and your guilty until you prove yourself innocent.
In the past four years I’ve probably spent more time studying the property tax issue in this commonwealth than any other issue and the deeper I go into this mess the more unfair, non-uniform, corrupt and fowl the property tax is in advancing controls over people lives through their homes. Few people realize that we have a Tax equalization department that determines the common level ratio applied to the property tax that helps control the revenue generated. By control I mean to make sure the government is getting the maximum exploitation from the tax that is already proven to be unfair to begin with.
The appeals process demonstrates that assessments don’t work….especially since the majority of the appeals are decided in favor of those appealing. That’s great for those who can afford to enter into that process but to a working family who is struggling to pay their tax debt to the public school system they often don’t have the extra money to wage that fight and apparently the system is built to assure it works that way….appeals are for those who can afford them. Is it any wonder that the lawyer lobbyists oppose elimination? They can claim that they oppose it because a sales tax may be applied to some of their services but maybe it’s really because they have so much financial gain from profiteering off the appeals process and other aspects related to the property tax than their altruistic claims of supposedly hurting their clients because a sales tax might be levied on some of their services (not criminal or business to business in 76).
Digging deeper into the property tax issue is the only way to discover how predatory special interests use the property tax like the profiteering pirates of old use open trade to exploit working families for their own profit and gain. Their reward is to get a seat at the table on hearings where they can continue to advance their pillaging of taxpayers in the name of supporting the status quo of the property tax. They get away with it because most people don’t realize the industry of exploitation the property tax enables.
I can go on but to regular readers of this blog, you already know those issues. I am just sick and tired of the lies to the people in this state. I am tired of legislators who would dare use property tax elimination as a re-election carrot but did nothing to help advance the issue when they got to Harrisburg (I know its not all of them but with a majority in the Senate who say they support it, why hasn’t it come up for a vote yet?)
We have a corporate controlled news-media who picks and chooses which news stories to run and when they do choose to run a story it is slanted to push agenda’s, not news. We have politicians who will promise us everything to get elected and once elected fall into the system of doing everything they can to screw us and then turn and try to sell what they’ve just done as being something that is good for the people….i.e; Agenda 21, The Patriot Act; No Child Left Behind, Common Core; Amnesty; Funding Planned Parenthood (need I go on). And we have a system of taxation called the property tax where people who claim to support and love Liberty have fought against eliminating in total disregard of what it is doing to many working families who fall beneath the median income levels in this commonwealth.
The working family: lets translate that in Pennsylvania….”Collateral Damage to any spending proposal that will benefit elections and cronyism in this state where lobbyists are paid huge sums of moneys for opinions that they may personally disagree with but must advance because it means their paycheck.” And believe me there are more than enough of them. I’ve spoken to several who personal agree with property tax elimination but as a lobbyist they must take a public position against it or they won’t have their job. Does that sound like America? Does that sound like Liberty? Or does that sound like paycheck over principle in the willingness to put the screws to the state for the special and corporate interests?
You watch as the same interests who opposed SB 76 because it raised the sales tax to provide elimination will get behind this new proposal and support it in their hypocritical paradoxology. Its okay to increase the sales tax to reduce but not eliminate. That way they can continue to lord over us as we pay a higher sales tax and the property tax can be used to pay for whatever new scheme they dream up and our property taxes increase, surpassing existing levels. They may have once claimed that increasing the sales tax hurts the poor but if you keep the property tax in place and raise the sales tax….then its okay! Then somehow, it doesn’t hurt the poor anymore. You can’t have it both ways but that’s never stopped the disingenuous lobbyists from putting the screws to the people of this commonwealth.
For too many legislators it’s no longer about securing the rights of people and the consent of the governed. It’s about power and making sure that government continues to secure its power over us. When legislators do rise up and attempt to restore the rights to the people; media, cronyism and special interests will rush to attack those legislators in their attempts to destroy those legislators and those destroyers often includes the leadership in this countries two party system.
Their real desire is to empower the endless bureaucracies that, as Thomas Jefferson put it, in “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”
Jefferson’s words clearly describe this latest proposal from those who would seek to control, even take away, the Liberty and property of we the people!
Elimination is the only way to solve that problem and the only plan that is well thought out with an emphasis on putting controls back in the hands of the people is SB 76. That is what they fear the most! End of story!
We are being lied to and we are being betrayed. The only way that changes is if we the people stand up and change it. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to future generations. No tax should have the power to leave you homeless. No tax should be stealing peoples homes to pay for the retirement of others in the public sector. No tax should be an excuse for the predatory system in place that exploits the egregious nature of the tax for personal profit and gain at the expense of the hard working families in this state.