IFO Report, Aging Demographics and the Pennsylvania Property Tax.

A new report, Aging and the Pennsylvania Economy, from the Independent Fiscal Office gives us some very telling information.  The report tells us that between 2010 and 2017 we had a 5.1% loss in population for Pennsylvania residents up to 20 years of age.  This amount to a loss of about 163,000 school-aged children.  The report projects that this trend will continue and that by 2025 we will see another drop in student population by another 29,000.  I, have to admit to questioning this projected number.  Trends show a great exodus of population among working aged families and I believe this will contribute to a greater loss of student-aged population than projected.

The report continues stating that we saw a loss in working-aged population (20-65) from 2010 to 2017 by 67,000.  The Independent Fiscal Office projects that this will translate into another loss between 2017 and 2025 of 103,000.   This is one of the major reasons I doubt the much lower projected student-population decline.  The majority are children born are to working-aged individuals.  If the Pennsylvania working aged-population declines at a much greater number from 2017-2025 than it did the previous seven years than student-aged population will also continue to decline at a greater rate.

The report also states that senior population is growing.   From 2010 to 2017 the senior population (65-75) had grown by 303,000.  There’s a slight drop in the retiree-aged population (75-84) of 7,000 but a growth in the over 85 bracket by 27,000 all between 2010 to 2017.

We know that there has been an exodus of out-migration in population away from Pennsylvania over the last several years leading to a decline in total state population.  In all those reports that I’ve seen, there is no demographic breakdown of the total loss in population but this report would indicate that the largest demographic leaving the state is the working-aged family.  That will contribute greatly to the loss of student-aged population.  It will also generate a much higher fiscal responsibility on the remaining working-aged families to provide for the growing program needs of a growing above 65 population.

The Independent Fiscal Office report also tells us that total workforce participation has decreased by 2.1% from 1997 to 2017.  In 1997, 64.5% percent of the population aged 20 and over was in the workforce.  Today that percentage is 62.4%  The decline is in Labor Force participation between the ages of 20 and 44.  Not only do we have less working families between the ages of 20-64 fewer of them are in the workforce which tells us that some of the in-migration numbers of people who are relocating to Pennsylvania are also people who are not in the workforce.

For the over 65 age demographics, more seniors are in the workplace than before.  In 1997, 10.2% of that age group was still in the workforce.  Today 19.3% of the 65 and over age group is in the workforce.  Even though many in this age group have already paid for their homes, which makes up the largest debt portion for Pennsylvanians, many of them are forced back in to the work force to provide for the demands of school property taxation.  This is also fueling a growing number of seniors turning to reverse mortgages in their attempts to keep their homes.

This information is important if we are to look at the growing problems related to the dependency of school education funding on a property tax.

First, we’ve seen a seven year decline in student-aged population of 163,000 and yet the cost of educating those children has increased during that same time period.   The Independent Fiscal Office estimates the future statewide property tax burden to increase $530 million annually, or more than 1 billion every two years, according to an earlier report (School District Property Tax Report, released January, 2018)

It other words, from 2010 to 2017 we saw a growth in the cost of property taxation burden by slightly more than $3 billion dollars.  By 2025, we will see an additional growth in property tax burden by almost $5 billion dollars for a total burden of growth that will exceed $8 billion dollars.

In 2010, the cost to completely replacing the school property tax was about $13 billion dollars.  In 2025, that cost will exceed $21 billion.

At the same time, we also know that wages in the private sector are not keeping up to the pace of the demands of the property tax burden.  We also know that the debt burden in the private sector is growing.  The Aging and the Pennsylvania Economy report from the Independent Fiscal Office tells us that housing debt is the largest portion of that debt.  The report also discloses that since 2013 there have been 8,549 reverse mortgages filed in Pennsylvania citing another report “The Graying of American Debt,” by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

We know that home-ownership is dwindling in Pennsylvania.  Fewer working families are purchasing homes with more people turning to rental properties to provide shelter from themselves and their families.  Today about 60% of homes are owner occupied with 30% renter occupied and another 10% of the homes vacant (not including designated vacation homes) according to a 2017 report from Penn State University.

Couple this to a declining population and you have a declining taxable base that must meet the demands of the growing education funding mechanisms leaving less disposable income and generating higher debt obligations.

In the 10 year cycle from 1987 to 1997, the Pennsylvania Economic Growth statistic was 2.5%. Over the next 10 years (1997-2007), Economic growth in Pennsylvania dropped to 2.1%; from 2007 to 2017 economic growth dropped to 1.3%.  At the same time, the burden of property tax grew dramatically and yet finding a report correlating the above-inflationary rate of growth in property taxation to the decline in Economic Growth is next to impossible.   Maybe that’s just one of those dirty little secrets we simply do not want to admit.

Image2

You simply can’t keep increasing the tax burden on working families and not expect negative consequences, nor can you keep increasing the tax burden on the business communities and not expect to see the negative consequences of fewer jobs, less expansion and even less inwards migration of new industry in the state.  There is a reason Pennsylvania is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to attracting new businesses to the state.  While Right To Work legislation would help attract jobs to the Commonwealth, 21 other states do not have Right To Work Laws and still manage to attract more businesses to their state than Pennsylvania.  It’s time we start asking why.

It’s true that Pennsylvania has the second highest corporate tax rate, second only to Iowa but even Iowa attracts more business to its state  than Pennsylvania.  It’s also true that while Pennsylvania has the second highest corporate tax rates, it also has the second highest amount of corporate welfare and yet Pennsylvania still can’t attract more business to the state.  Pennsylvania is resource rich and ideally located as a center on the East Coast, and yet we still can’t attract more businesses to the state.  So what’s the problem….it couldn’t be the corporate tax rate coupled to the rising costs of school property taxation…or could it?

Even though state income through PIT and Sales tax is not growing the way it was 20 years ago, it still grows naturally without the need of tax increases.  Even though the population in the state is declining, we have added to the revenue through the natural growth of PIT and SUT revenue in the state without increases taxes.

The property tax simply doesn’t work that way.  In order to generate more revenue, they must raise the taxes because property taxation does not grow naturally with the economy.  Those property tax increases produce economically damaging results.  When the Pennsylvania population declines, the PIT and SUT revenue still increases without tax increases but when student population declines, the revenue demands increases and those demands require tax increases.

Those property tax increases than generate less personal spending statewide because of less disposable income so spending drops resulting is less revenue generated through the SUT tax.  Higher business property taxes results in slower wage growth and less job creation result in slowing the PIT revenue generated to meet state funding needs.

The property taxes increases also contribute to the growing problem of blight in our communities.  With less disposable income, there is less money to re-invest in home maintenance or improvement.

As population declines the need for new home construction slows as well.  According to the Penn State study, Pennsylvania Facts 2017, Pennsylvania ranks 6th among states and the District of Columbia in the proportion of housing units built in 1939 or earlier (26.7%).  That means that 43 other states have higher numbers in new home construction to meet population demands than Pennsylvania.  Could that be because our population demands are declining  while other states aren’t faring as poorly.

The fact of the matter is that unless Pennsylvania changes it course of action, things are not going to get better in Pennsylvania.  While we may a have a state slogan that says “You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania”, for those of us still living here we can say “Yes, but we have many other friends in many other states who used to be our neighbors in Pennsylvania.”

There has been a recent amount of chatter about replacing the school property tax for homestead only with a PIT only increase.  Looking at the above data, I see this as a recipe for disaster.  While 19.3% of the senior population is still in the workforce, the remaining 80.7% are not and Pennsylvania does not collect PIT revenue from retirement income.

To me, this is an unsustainable option that puts the burden of state education funding on a shrinking number of working families in the state.  I see this as a plan that will accelerate the out-migration of working-families while growing the senior population as well as the in-migration of more younger families who do not participate in the labor force.  Neither results would be part of a plan that looks to the future prosperity of the state.  It is, in my opinion, irresponsible.

Forcing more working families to consider leaving the state may reduce student population but that demonstrates no historical record of reducing the overall cost of education.

We have to get off this course of action that keeps expecting the working families in this Commonwealth to give more and more towards failing policies in this state.  We should be working to attract more working families to the state, not less.  That’s done through making Pennsylvania a better place for family sustaining jobs.  While the reliance on property taxation to fund education remains a dark blot of Pennsylvania’s economic future, going to a PIT only replacement for Homestead only does nothing to attract new industry to the state and discourages in-migration of working families while encouraging out-migration of the same demographic.

Then again, this is Pennsylvania so what else would we expect from a General Assembly that has continually kept Pennsylvania on a path of negative economics results.  To those legislators who have fought to restore Pennsylvania working for common sense solutions to our financial problems, I say thank you. A PIT replacement for homestead only school property exclusion, however, is NOT one of those common sense solutions!

 

Another Tax Hike in Lebanon City

Well it is 2018 and we already heard from the Lebanon School District.  Lebanon residents will be looking at a possible 6% increase in their millage rates in connection to their school property taxes.  The school millage rates in the city are already the highest millage rates in the county.  City residents pay 20.04 mills which is 5.11 to 6.15 mills higher than anywhere else in the county. A 6% increase would set the millage rate at 21.2424.  That will translate into an additional $1 dollar for every $1,000 of assessed property worth.  A 6% increase in the property tax would be above the Act 1 limits  and that would require a voter referendum for approval but no fear for the school district; they can apply for an exception for the referendum which will be rubber stamped by the department of education.  It’s a sure thing for them.

According to city-data, the median price house in Lebanon County is $168,500.  If that home was located in the city of Lebanon the school property taxes on that home would be $3,579.34 using the new millage rate.  The same priced home in Myerstown would see a school property tax of $2,339.76: a difference of $1,245.58; In the Cedar Crest District the school property taxes on a home assessed at $168,500 would see a school property tax of $2,477.15: a difference of $1,102.19.  The fast is that a $168,500 home anywhere else in Lebanon County pays at least $1,000 a year less in property taxes than for the same price home in the city.  Ask yourself, should taxes on a home be $1,000 more in the center of the city than the same priced home just 3 short miles away in any direction?

Adding insult to injury, the median household income is about $20,000 a year less in the city than it is in the rest of the county.  The income level in the city is so low that the school district went to a free lunch program for all students regardless of income because the overwhelming majority of children qualified, and yet the millage rates their parents pay through the school property tax is the highest in the county….Go figure!

Blighted properties becomes a problem in 3rd class cities.  Lebanon is no exception but when you have less income and pay higher taxes to provide shelter for yourself and your family, where is the money supposed to come from to maintain that property?

Over the last 20 years, home ownership has declined in the city with more properties becoming rental properties.  That doesn’t mean the renter doesn’t feel the crunch of a property tax.  Even though many renters mistakenly think they don’t pay property taxes, when a landlord sees continual increases in their property taxes, they have to make adjustments to the rent to keep up with that tax  The rising cost of rent adds to the problem of transient school population which only adds to the cost of education.    It also adds to the burden or subsidizing housing for low income families.  A rising property tax will raise the cost of rent which will generate the need to provide more revenue to subsidized housing which comes from taxes at the state and federal level.

As a city resident, I’ve seen this for myself.  My neighborhood, in the last 15 years, has transformed from a largely home ownership neighborhood to a rented property neighborhood.  I’ve also seen blight increase, deal with continually changing neighbors, and other problems.   When we moved here we were just 2 block away from the downtown area where there were affordable family restaurants and store

At the same time, the downtown area has slowly transformed from corner drug stores, clothing stores, newsstands, movie theaters and other retail business to become the place to go in the county for pawn shops and bail bonds.   There is very little industry in the city limits, no malls and no major chain grocery stores within the city limits.  More than 30% of the property in the city limits is tax-exempt.  It is any wonder.  When you property tax bill is more than 30% higher than it would be anywhere else in the county, why stay or locate in the city. For the working family, since there are few family sustaining job options for them within the city limits, they travel to work and with higher gas prices, that leaves them with less disposable income to support local businesses.

The KOZ and LERTA properties provide tax abatements but that just shifts the tax burden onto working families and renters.

Then I read an article concerning Cambria County.  Of the 87,000 properties in the county, 12,000 are behind on their taxes: that’s 14% of the properties in the county.  2,100 of that 12,000, or almost 18% of that number, will go up for tax sales this year. The article I read puts all the blame on the delinquent taxpayer and accepts no responsibility for the burden they have put on the property owners that contributes to this problem.

Oddly enough, supporters of property taxation will tell us that property taxes are stable.  I’m sorry but if 18% of the population isn’t paying the tax for whatever reasons, that’s not stability.  The beauty of property tax is that they can just push the unpaid delinquent taxes on those who can and do pay…that is until there’s not enough of them to sustain this egregious practice.

The fact of the matter is that when it comes to homeowners, our homes simply don’t generate any income to provide for this tax.  We pay the tax through our income but since it’s not based on income, it doesn’t reflect an ability to pay.  That certainly evident in Lebanon County where those earning the least b\pay the highest tax per thousand dollars of property worth in the entire county.

That doesn’t seem to matter to the supporters of property taxation.  Since property taxation outpaces rates of inflation, our income also doesn’t keep up with the demands of property taxation.  That doesn’t seem to matter as well.

The article I read concerning Cambria County, the tax collector brags that homes can be bought much cheaper than usual stating that some of the homes sell for as little as $200 in these auctions.  They’ll still have to pay any unpaid taxes or mortgage balances on top of that $200 but let that sink in.

A senior finds themselves in a place where they can no longer keep up with the taxes.  Their home is paid for but with rising costs of heating their homes, medical expenses and other costs of living, the tax exceeds their ability to pay.  The government then steps in and takes that home, sells it for pennies of its worth to some property investment company and the senior homeowner loses all investment in that home including any equity that home had accrued.  Supporters of the property tax call this justice and stability.

A serious injury or illness can leave a family in a difficult position where they face losing their homes.  Even though they can pay the mortgage, they just can’t keep up with the increasing demands of the property tax collectors.  They’ll lose their home.  If it is seized for tax delinquency, they’ll also lose any investment in that home and any equity that home may have accrued.

It forces people into desperate conditions where they try and sell their homes before it’s seized for taxes.  In the event that they do, they’ll often sell it for much less than the home is worth because they’ve been forced into a situation that is out of their control.  The new home owner then takes that lower selling price and appeals the taxes that can result in lower taxes for the new owner than it was for the previous owners who were taxed out of their ability to pay.

The most recent report from the Independent Fiscal Office concerning Property Taxation tells us that the estimated total statewide property tax collections for FY 2016-17 and FY 2017-18 are $14.0 billion and $14.4 billion, respectively. Collections are then projected to increase by roughly 3.3 percent per annum during the forecast period, reaching $17.0 billion in FY 2022-23.  A $3 billion dollar increase from 2017 top 2022 is a little over a 21% increase in property taxes.  Take your current property tax and multiply it by 21% and then ask yourself, in just 5 years, if you will still be able to afford your property taxes.

At the rate that the city of Lebanon is going, the path of Cambria County seems to be the preferred path for the school district.  It is unsustainable there and it’s just getting more unsustainable for more people in the city of Lebanon.

Here in Lebanon City we always hear the same thing every time there is another school property tax increase.  We’re told that it’s just the cost of a cup of coffee day.  We hear this virtually every year.  Over the last 10 years that’s 10 additional cups of coffee even though my home really isn’t increasing in value nor are our family wages.  If it keeps on going up we’ll have to cut back on our coffee intake.  That’s okay though because I really doubt that 10 cups of coffee a day is a healthy option but then again, neither is the property tax.

Sources: 

 

Time To Separate The Wheat From The Chaff

In November of 2015, the Senate narrowly defeated a measure that would have eliminated the school property taxes.  The vote was a tie vote broken by the Lt. Governor.  Since the defeat of that legislation the taxpayer burden to Pennsylvania Homeowners has increased by more than one billion dollars.  That amount is $19,231 times the median HOUSEHOLD INCOME in Pennsylvania.  Had this legislation passed the additional PIT and SUT in the legislation would have generated an additional $700 million for education funding without the need for additional tax increases.  As far as I am concerned, our opposition owns that tax increase.  It’s their fault that we saw this increase.  They can point their fingers all they want, but it belongs to them.

Those who tell me that they are against tax shifts but are also opposed to tax increases-you’re opposition to SB 76 helped to add to the additional tax burden of one billion dollars on working families in this commonwealth.  You own this tax increase as well.  You’re future opposition will continue to add to that burden to the tune of more than a billion dollars every two years.

The legislation was an attempt to generate replacement revenue to provide for the complete elimination of property taxes for all property including farmstead, commercial, rental and private homes.

We fought against a wide variety of lobbyist efforts who used tools of misinformation and misdirection to create confusion and distractions.  This fight against us included groups that we fought hard to bring about the elimination of their property taxes.  The fight went so far as to use taxpayer money collected through the property tax to fund campaigns in opposition to the school property tax elimination proposal.

In 2017, a referendum went out to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania where they overwhelmingly told legislators how they felt about the school property tax.  That referendum passed by a large enough margin to demand that something be done about it.

Throughout this time, some of us have been working on pushing this measure forward through the legislative body again.  There is talk of shifting to a homestead only property tax elimination bill.  This would eliminate the school property tax on all primary residences in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.   This would not include any property that is not a primary residence owned by the homeowner so it would not include rental properties, business properties or farmland that is not used solely for primary residency.

We are restricted at this point in time of publicly commenting on what these alternative proposals will be because we have no definitive plan to work with.  There have been proposals but numbers must be verified before anything definite can move forward.  Publicly commenting on these proposals at this point in time is counter-productive.  As we have seen in the past, our opposition will move in full force at any suggestion of any plan to eliminate school property taxes in any measure.  We have seen that they will resort to misinformation and misdirection to accomplish that goal.

I know this is frustrating.  It is like watching a football game and trying to figure out the strategy of the game from the sidelines.    It is frustrating for us as well.  As much as we want to speak out about the future possibilities, doing so is like giving our opponents our playbook before the game is even started.

It appears on the surface that nothing is happening.  That’s simply not true.

There is much at stake here.  One proposal that moved forward already calls for a homestead exclusion based solely on PIT revenue.  While this might be attractive to seniors we have to also understand that just a few years ago there were 4 working individuals in the Commonwealth for every retired senior.  Recent study indicates that we are quickly moving to a point where this will be 2.4 working individuals for every senior.  Since seniors do not pay an income tax on their retirement, using PIT only to replace the  school property tax is putting that burden on a shrinking tax base.  Some will point to less working families mean less students in the classroom but historically there is no correlation between reducing student population and lowering education costs.  A classroom of 25 children costs as much with regards to wages and benefits as a classroom with 30 students.  The cost of maintaining that room (electricity, heat, etc.) does not decrease because the number of students in that room decreases.  If we reduced the number of students across the state by 10,000 students that only translates into 200 students per school district spread out over 12 grades and kindergarten or 15.4 students per grade.  Besides, is chasing people out of Pennsylvania really the solution to Pennsylvania’s problems.

Some recent studies are applauding the fact that Pennsylvania is a great retirement destination.  On the surface this may sound like good news but without a sustainable tax base you create an unsustainable future for Pennsylvania.   Seniors do not pay a PIT tax on their retirement income.  At the same time, working families are leaving the state.  The number in that exodus is increasing and, if it continues to do so, we’ll hit that 2.4 number sooner than expected.  When we reach a point of 2 working individuals for every retired senior, we cannot sustain the income necessary to provide for the senior programs.  We will be forced to do what many other states have done; start taxing retirement income.  None of that is good news for Pennsylvania but it’s the path we are on unless we change course.

At the same time, wages in the private sector are not seeing the same increases as the wages in the public sector.  20 years later and home values in most parts of the state have still not reached the pre-recession 2007/08 numbers and yet property taxes have continued to increase.  At a meeting with opposition in an attempt to reach a consensus, we heard from charity organizations who talked about the impact on the poor.  Keeping people in poverty is not a solution and that is exactly what the property tax is doing for many.

You cannot keep increasing the tax burden leaving working families with less disposable income and still expect to see economic prosperity.  This year seniors are going to see a very slight increase in their social security benefits.  In talking to seniors. I have found that once the additional cost of medical coverage is factored in to the increase many seniors will actually be getting less next year than they did before.  Others may see slightly more but hardly enough to compensate for the increase in the property taxes they will see.

The trending of school property taxation is a history of a tax that increases at a much higher rate than the rate of inflation.  This results in less disposable income for working families who have less money to spend for goods and services in their communities.   The government solution to this is the creation or expansion of more government programs to provide aid and assistance but that money has to come from somewhere especially since it is not directly coming out of our legislators salaries.  It comes by increasing the tax burden, which only takes more disposable income away from consumers to be used for the maintenance of government programs instead of allowing that money back in to consumer based spending that would grow jobs and allow for the expansion of business.

Some of these tax increases at the school district level are the result of an underfunded pension program.  Other tax increase are the result of poor tax investments that failed to return the investments to the projections expected.  Adding insult to injury taxpayer money is used to pay the investors who take more taxpayer money to invest in stock options that fail to perform.

In the end, there is this general lack of accountability for how the money is spent with all accountability being transferred to property owners who are expected to continue to pay for the failure of the legislative body to maintain their promise to public pensions and a pension system with little accountability with regards to their investments.  It is the property owner who bears all the accountability.

For the property owner who lives in a home that does not generate the income necessary to pay the tax, the buck stops with them.  They can’t pass on the cost of the failures of others on to anyone else.  While everybody else is out there pointing their fingers at each other, it’s the homeowner who gets stuck with the bill.  Unlike a business, the cost cannot be passed on to the consumer because the only consumers related to a home are the people who live there.  The responsibility and accountability for any failures in the part of education and its costs or in the state in properly funding their promises falls squarely on the shoulders of the working private sector families in this Commonwealth.

There are studies on assessment values of homes for taxation purposes that show that assessments are wildly incorrect.  There are studies that indicate that as many as 60% of the homes are assessed at values that cannot be reached in the private market.  Let that sink in for a moment.

Pennsylvania collects almost $13 billion a year in taxes through the property tax.  If 60% of the properties are over-assessed that means $7.8 billion of that property tax income is based on properties that have been over-assessed.   We have no way of knowing how much of that $7.8 billion is taxable revenue on property tax doesn’t exist since over-assessments vary from property to property.  We just know that the revenue collected is more than it should be.  This is something that could not happen with either a PIT or SUT tax.

Let’s look at my county, Lebanon, Pa:  During the last reassessment there were 54,000 properties assessed for taxation.  Using the 60% over-assessment data, that would mean that about 32,000 properties are over-assessed.  Let’s assume for just a minute that the over-assessment is just $2,000 on each of those properties.  The average for the school district millage rate would be about 15.14.  That would mean that each home over-assessed by $2,000 would pay an average $30.28 in annual taxes on property they don’t own.  That’s may not sound like an incredibly high amount but when we multiply that by the number of homes over-assessed that becomes $968,960 in property tax revenue generated from property that doesn’t exist.

We had purchased our home one year before the county-wide reassessment.  When we did we had it professionally appraised.  The following year the reassessment took place and the assessment valued our home at about $40,000 more than the professional appraisers.  We appealed and got it lowered but it’s still about $8,000 more than the professional appraisals value of the home in the fair market.

Adding insult to injury, in Lebanon County the difference between the highest school millage rate and the lowest millage rate is 6.92 mills.   Apparently some people paying more for property they don’t own than others is perfectly acceptable system of taxation to our opposition.  In short, any over-assessed home is paying property taxes on property that doesn’t exist and apparently many legislators and special interest opposition groups are also perfectly okay with this.

Using PIT and SUT tax to fund education removes any possibility of paying taxes on property you don’t own.

There is bitter irony in their opposition.  They’ll complain about sales tax on diapers while ignoring taxes on property that doesn’t exist.  They’ll talk about the necessity of diapers while ignoring the necessity of a shelter.  That type of argument is always the excuse.

You simply cannot talk about not taxing necessities and still support taxing our homes without being a hypocrite.  You can’t talk about not taxing food while you are perfectly fine with taxing the land where food is grown or livestock raised.  You can’t talk about the immorality of taxing food while taxing the properties that convert that food into marketable food products.  You can’t talk about the immorality of taxing food but be perfectly fine with taxing the property of a grocery store.  It’s all sheer hypocrisy.

At this point in time, I can’t really say that the future of SB76 is a sure thing but I do know that it should be.  I do know that we should be demanding another vote on SB76 and if it fails, we’ll know who to blame.   We are running out of time for 76.  Another two years with another billion plus added to the cost of school property taxation will drive the PIT up to unsustainable numbers.  With more schools scrambling to add to their debt in fear of something like 76 passing, we can’t continue to sustain the need for increased revenue.  Most importantly, another two years will mean more people losing their homes.

With the legislative session about to start in a matter of days the time to act is now.

Some of us are working hard with legislators to make it happen.  We need you to do the same.  Complaining about it on social media is not enough.  It’s time to pick up your phones and call your legislators in the Senate, especially to call leadership in the Senate and tell them that before anything else happens with regards to school property tax, SB 76 deserves another vote.  It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.