I stand with CAP!

(A response to the much misaligned mailer from Citizen’s Alliance of Pennsylvania)

CAP (Citizen’s Alliance of Pennsylvania), recently sent out a mailer exposing the Republicans who voted against ensuring that taxpayers would no longer be able to be forced to pay for the collection of Public Sector Union Dues.  That money is then often used to fund elections that work against the policies that the majority of the Republican’s in this Commonwealth want.

The press and party establishment then jumped on the bandwagon to go after CAP for doing so.  They then made attempts to tie this directly to Scott Wagner.

Let’s clear up some of these points.  James Kennedy holds the title of Chairman Emeritus of CAP.  He is also chairing Scott Wagner’s Governor’s bid.  The title of Chairman Emeritus is a special honorary title for an individual who played a critical role in the establishment and advancement of an organization.  That doesn’t mean he’s calling all the shots at CAP anymore.  It also doesn’t mean that he is not without influence with CAP.  However, to blame Kennedy directly for these mailers without proof is irresponsible.  To then attempt to directly tie that to Scott Wagner takes that irresponsibility to new levels.

The mailer sent out by CAP specifically addresses a vote by Republican legislators.  You can see that mailer in the first source link below.

That is the only relevant topic here, in my opinion.  Does the mailer accurately reflect a specific vote on a specific issue and the answer to that is a resounding YES!

That vote results in the rest of us still having to pay to collect the union dues of public sector employees.  That vote promotes the legal plunder of taxpayer dollars to provide special protections to public sector unions.

To be clear, I don’t blindly stand with CAP in all of their positions any more than I stand with any organization in blindly supporting their positions 100%.  On this issue; in this matter; I stand with CAP.

Senator Rafferty uses the excuse that he couldn’t vote for the bill because he couldn’t get an exemption for first responders.

So let me understand that…Not supporting the legal plunder that forces taxpayers to pay for the collection of union dues, which will then largely be spent on getting Democrats elected to office, means we don’t support the individual police and firefighters.  Pardon me if I disagree.

Let’s turn to Bastiat for a minute:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

Taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for the collection of dues to any organization formed by the public sector.  They voted to unionize. Let them then pay for the collection of their own dues.  How they spend those dues then becomes irrelevant.  It is not our responsibility to pay for the collection of any organizations dues.  End of story.

In other words, let’s not allow for the legal plunder of the taxpayers to provide for a choice of association.

Forcing me to pay for the collection of those dues through legal plunder is a violation of the principles of association.

By the way, Senator Rafferty has no problem stonewalling a bill that would allow a special group of veterans in this state who restore military vehicles from having their own custom license plates.  He’s perfectly fine with forcing us to pay for for the collection of public sector union dues, but not okay with allowing a group of veterans who are performing a role in preserving the history of this country.  Using his own logic: is he opposed to veterans?

Party establishment comes out of the woodwork to attack CAP for exposing this vote.  They say that CAP’s drawing attention to this is destroying the unity of the Party.  Val Digiorgio went so far as to claim that CAP, and groups like them, would  “ensure the liberals like (Gov.) Tom Wolf and (U.S. Sen.) Bob Casey call the shots in government.”

The question given to Val Digiorgio avoids questioning if the party agreed with the vote of these legislators.  The only thing journalists seem to care about was whether or not the party played a role in it.

The journalists are avoiding the real issue here and that is the vote itself.

We are just supposed to ignore the fact that these Republicans voted against something the majority of the Republican’s in this state want; that they voted against party unity and then blame the messenger who informed us all of the vote.

If you want to make it easier for the liberal agenda in Pennsylvania, continue to allow the special protections to the public sector unions; continue to allow them to use our hard earned dollars to increase our tax burden to pay for the legal plunder of the collection of the union dues which will then be diverted in supporting candidates and issues many of us have opposed.

Republicans have the majority but we still can’t get critical legislation passed because of Republican Legislators who vote against the things many Republicans.  We have a super majority in the Senate but what good is it when we have these Republicans who vote with the other side more than they do our own party.  It’s not CAP who is ensuring the victory of the Liberal majority, it is the actual votes by legislators that is making this happen.

That can’t be, ignored.

And let’s understand something right now.  Party affiliation is not the issue here.  The particular bill and the issue of that bill is what matters to me.  I believe it is wrong to force me, or anyone for that matter, to pay, through taxation, for the causes which I, or they, do not support.  Those calling out CAP based on party unity have made that the issue and I’m simply pointing out their hypocrisy in doing so.

While screaming about preserving Party Unity, the same Republicans then push the blame to Scott Wagner because James Kennedy is chairing his re-election bid because an organization where Kennedy is CHAIR EMERITUS, put out a mailer asking us not to support the Republicans who aren’t supporting the will of the Republican Voter.

Who’s really guilty of violating Party Unity?   The legislators who vote against the Party or the activist organizations who expose that vote.

The implication is made that Scott Wagner was personally responsible for that mailer by connecting dots that do not necessarily lead to Scott Wagner.  Forget that, just buy the party’s rhetoric for the sake of party unity.

That should come as no surprise to us.  Wagner has often challenged the party establishment.  He’s been a thorn of contention with those who vote against principled party platforms.  In this case, however, making that connection directly to Wagner takes a stretch of the imagination not proven by facts which are made irrelevant through deflection.

This is an election season, and connecting dots that do not necessarily connect and then demanding those dots connect is typical opposition talking points.  Lying about the opponent so you don’t have to defend your candidates positions: redirecting and deflecting criticism from the one you support by attacking and even outright lying about the one you oppose is standard campaign fair.  Just because it exists, however, doesn’t make it right.

Are we not supposed to question our own when they vote against the things we want to see happen in this state?  Are we supposed to be silent when they betray us?

Most important, is it moral to call out the other side on their votes when we are pressured not to call out our own?

True investigative journalism should be covering all aspects of this vote, not just concerned with attacking the messenger.  It is the vote itself that matters and this vote concerned perpetuating the legal plunder of our income to provide for the protections of the public sector union’s ability to fund elections and, in my opinion, buy candidates.

That’s what this should be about: not merely who exposed it, but the actual vote and what that vote means.

The Commonwealth Foundation told us in April of 2017:

Though union dues cannot be given directly to candidates, dues can fund radio and TV ads, lobbying expenditures, get out the vote efforts, candidate endorsements, and PAC fundraising. Dues can also be funneled to SuperPACs, which in turn spend unlimited amounts of money supporting or opposing candidates.

  • Since 2010, government unions have diverted more than $46.7 million of members’ dues to political purposes. PSEA alone spent $23.2 million.

  • Several unions are not required to disclose political dues-spending details, while others wait until months after elections conclude to disclose expenditures. These practices obscure where unions leaders send their members’ hard-earned money.

The Republicans named in CAP’s mailer voted to make sure that continues to happen and they are upset that they were exposed for doing so.  To then have party leadership trash the messenger seems hypocritical to me.

A defense is made of this vote because some of the legislators are retiring or some of them have no opponents in the upcoming primary.  So what..that doesn’t change how they voted!   That doesn’t change the issue behind the vote!

If we are expected to stand down when Republicans vote against Republican positions because the Party Leadership says so, how will we ever see the reforms we need.

Let me create an example.  A playground is divided into two groups.  33% of the playground wants to steal the lunch money one particular kid to make their own lunches less expensive.  67% say no as a group but when it comes time to vote, enough of that 67% vote with the 33% to allow that one kid’s lunch money to be plundered.  Calling out those voted to allow such plunder is, according to this party unity logic, not okay because it doesn’t promote party unity.  We’ll just then pretend the one kid who has been plundered didn’t happen for the sake of party unity.

We’ll then deflect from the result of the vote to attack that one other kid who stands up and says that what just happened wasn’t right.

The right of peaceably assembling for the purpose of redressing our grievances against government, regardless of party, is a treasured right beautifully expressed in our Declaration of Independence.  Apparently, when it comes to party unity, that truth is no longer relevant.

There has been criticism of the timing of this release.  We didn’t time the vote on this legislation.  We didn’t vote.  They did.  The vote was then made public so the timing is not the question here in my opinion.  Was CAP supposed to wait until some later time when the release of this information would have been more convenient and just when would that be?

The arguments being made against the mailer implies that the information should not have been released at all.  They seem to prefer that we remain uninformed about how those we elect to office vote, especially when they vote against a reform measure that the majority of us want to see.  I guess unity means submission even when the vote is to legally plunder us.

Informed voters create better government.  The truth is that many of the reforms we want to see happen in this state do not happen because of the votes of Southeast Republicans who spend more time voting against the Party than with it.  Sure, we can blame the Democrats, but the reality is that when an important reform bill fails in the General Assembly, we don’t have to look to hard to find out why.

I don’t believe that the issue of not allowing unions to take taxpayer money to collect the dues of public sector employees is a far right issue. Painting it as such is disengenuous.  It is a betrayal of founding principles of both our State and Federal Government.

I believe the issue is one of the violation of my 1st amendment rights and a principle in violation of the inherent rights of all people especially regarding the right of association.  Forcing me to fund an organization through taxation that I would otherwise not choose to fund violates that most basic right.  I do not want, nor do I expect, others to pay for the groups I choose to align myself with or to fund the advancement of the issues that matter the most to me.

That’s not a right wing position and its not a Republican position.  It is a principled position.  I simply believe that nobody should have to endure plunder when the government steps in and forces us to financially support the issues, cause or organizations we disagree with.

Frédéric Bastiat warned:

Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame, danger, and scruple which their acts would otherwise involve. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons, and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim — when he defends himself — as a criminal…

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime…

When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it — without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud — to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed…

I say that this act is exactly what the law is supposed to suppress, always and everywhere. When the law itself commits this act that it is supposed to suppress, I say that plunder is still committed, and I add that from the point of view of society and welfare, this aggression against rights is even worse. In this case of legal plunder, however, the person who receives the benefits is not responsible for the act of plundering. The responsibility for this legal plunder rests with the law, the legislator, and society itself. 

On this I am in full agreement with Frédéric Bastiat.  It is a violation of our right to property, a violation of our inherent rights of association by choice and an abuse of the power of government is legislating the legal plunder of our property (income) to provide a benefit to a protected class of citizens.

Bad timing on not:  I stand with Bastiat and with CAP in the release of this mailer.

Those highly critical of this mailer are basing their positions on two aspects: 1) Party Unity, which this vote betrayed and 2) Blind support of legislators based solely on party name.  The issue at hand is ignored to attack what they perceive as right-wingers while deflecting from the issue at hand…the legislation and the principles of that legislation.

That seems to be the general discourse of dialogue today.  It doesn’t seem to matter what that issue is.  Deflect, misrepresent, attack the messenger but God forbid we actually discuss the issue especially when the issue is the protection of our individual rights to Life, liberty and Property!

The following sources were used for this posting:

1. http://www.cityandstatepa.com/content/wagner-campaign-chair-tied-attack-ads-targeting-fellow-republicans

2. https://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/policyblog/detail/policy-memo-government-union-political-spending-trends

3. http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

Have we come this far?

The most recent property tax elimination bill, SB76, has been around for a very long time. However, the problem with Property Taxes has existed much longer.

For 40 years the people of this Commonwealth have been trying to have reforms made to the property tax problem especially with regards to the school property tax. The answer has been, continually, to kick the problem further down the road and to not make the substantive reform the working families of this state need. Is it any wonder than that many Pennsylvania working families, not in the public sector, feel as though the state really doesn’t care about us?

I’m one of those people. I really wish I felt differently but it’s very hard to argue with the facts.

The School Property is often compared to other Property Tax and the historic use of the property tax is often used to defend the school property tax.

The truth is that these are two very different things.  Using the property tax to fund local County or municipal government has existed for about as long as there have been taxes, whether that was paying tribute to the Lords of Feudal societies or providing for the needs of County and Municipal government.  The School Property Tax in Pennsylvania as it exists today is a relatively newly created beast that has only existed since the 1960’s.  It is a mistake to group these things together since they are, by their nature, very different.

I believe that the implementation of the School property tax is just another way that Pennsylvania passed initiatives, no matter how well-intended, that hurt working families in this Commonwealth

A very recent example of how Pennsylvania treats the working family can be seen in the vaping tax that was put into effect in Pennsylvania. A new industry had begun to arise where small family owned businesses began to spring up across the state. Rather than responsibly dealing with spending problems the state saw this as a taxing opportunity and effectively passed legislation that put these small family owned businesses out of business. The small shops that sold vaping devices only closed their doors where the only shops that remained were the shops that also sold name brand products to be benefit of the cigarette industry.

We can turn to the pension crisis in this state. We all know its a problem. When legislation was introduced to actually do something about this problem it began the amendment process to water down the bill to make it ineffective. It became a band-aid approach to a problem that needed a tourniquet. We’ve seen the same things happen to paycheck protection and to prevailing wage laws.

The message is clear, protecting working families in this state is not a very high priority except when it comes to campaign rhetoric. In spite of what we are told during campaign season, when it comes to actually doing something that protects Pennsylvania Working families there is always an excuse to, instead, protect the campaign-funding special interest lobby factions in this state.

One way Pennsylvania attempted to reign in the property tax problem was to introduce an act that would allow for voter referendums if school districts exceeded a specific percentage set by the government. Let’s be more precise: set by the Department of Education, the bureaucracy established to regulate and protect public schools in this state. The school lobby pushed for exemptions to this voter referendum that effectively allowed school districts to raise taxes above the limit without going to voter referendum. They neutered the legislation making it ineffective for working families to have a voice in local tax increases.  It failed to do what was intended.  Tax increases above the index never went to voter referendum.

We complained and so they decided to reduce the number of exemptions making it appear as though they were, once again, doing something to help protect the non-public sector working families of the state.  The three remaining protections to the schools district, at the working families expense, left the door open wide enough that voter referendums, when school districts wish to exceed the limit established by their own Department of Education, they can and they do…constantly.

Recognizing that the property tax was a problem the government established KOZs (Keystone Opportunity Zones). This gave a local establishing business the benefit of not paying a property tax to help us establish new businesses in the state while creating jobs and generating PIT and SUT revenue from those new jobs.

It sounds like a good policy on the surface until you realize that to pay for this, the tax burden was shifted to private homes which generate no income from their home to pay for the additional tax burden.

The government then established a new program called LERTA (Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance). This is just another government sponsored program that pushes a higher property tax burden on working families in the Commonwealth. When LERTAs were established they were defended because it allowed for tax deferment to businesses for blighted properties where tax incentives were used to transform those blighted properties into productive business in the revitalization of that property to add to community appeal.

We all want more jobs and an more attractive community but again, it sounds good on the surface but both KOZ and LERTA are not really tax exemptions, they are tax shifts that transfer that cost to the working families.  That cost is hidden from us.  We don’t really know how much of our property tax is being used to pay for the exemptions provided to others.  In short, part of our property taxes has nothing to do with taxing your property to help provide to services to you, it’s being used to give taxpayer money to a business that can actually harm other established businesses in your community because it creates a protected business at the expense of home-owners and other businesses in the area.

For every success story, there are a hundred stories of abysmal failure.  We don’t track the cost of the KOZ or LERTA programs. Yes, we’ll hear about the economic benefits and the jobs created through these programs but the real crux of the matter is cost effectiveness. Does the cost of the program cover the job creation benefits and in most independent studies that have tried to look into this, the answer is a resounding no!

I live in an area that made extensive use of the KOZ initiative. I’ve seen more than our share of local business established that took advantage of passing that cost on to the rest of us and once the KOZ expired, those business moved to different locations. The promise of local tax payers investing in our communities through carrying that property tax burden is simply never realized. So I challenge you, when was the last time you heard a politician talk about this on the campaign trail.

When was the last time you heard county officials talk about this publicly? It does happen.  Our County Commissioner, Bill Ames, has openly discussed this problem as our County Commissioner. Good for him!  I’m grateful for his willingness to discuss this but I also realize that it doesn’t make him popular with the political campaign-funding machines. While it does happen, it’s also rare. The reason its rare is because of those campaign funding machines.

Just one of those campaign funding machines is the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. They have a sister organization called the Keystone Research Center that is. essentially, just the same organization with a different name.  It is one of many that does the same thing:  Establish a lobbying/policy firm that has subdivisions of the same organizations to make it appear as though they are different when they are not.

During a government held hearing on the elimination of the school property tax it was pointed at that 10,000 people are losing their homes every year because of the property tax. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s response was to make the claim that 10,000 people losing their homes is not a significant enough reason to do something about this problem.

They made no attempt to refute the facts of that number. They made no attempt to discuss alternate solutions or, for that matter, to even admit to the problem. They simply dismissed those who have lost their homes due to the property tax problems as being insignificant. Translation: Insignificant=Those people don’t matter!

In 2016, 4,600 people died from Opioid related addiction, according to Governor Wolf.  We have declared this as being, not just a crisis, but an epidemic.  I don’t refute that, nor do I refute the number but using Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s rational, 4,600 people in this Commonwealth is not a significant enough reason to do anything about the problem.  I don’t agree with that rationale.  In fact I strongly disagree with that rationale.  If I made such a statement before the General Assembly in a public hearing I would be crucified and probably (and I believe rightfully) never asked to testify in front of them again.  So why didn’t that happen with  the Pennsylvania Policy and Budget Center?

The board of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and their sister affiliation, the Keystone Research Center is a who’s who of labor union affiliated members.  As of 2017, Pennsylvania’s top 13 government union PACs contributed $26 million to candidates since 2010. Of that total, $20 million came from the top three unions representing government workers: PSEA, AFSCME, and SEIU.

The School education industry is quick to complain about the Pension Problem and many people interpret that as them wanting to do something to actually fix the problem. You have to listen closely during this debate and when you do you discover that their solution in fixing the way the Pension itself is designed isn’t to reform the Pension system. Their solution is that taxpayers need to pay more to keep the existing system afloat even if that means people have to lose their own retirements and homes in the process.

We know that bad investments by PSERS (Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System) has resulted in years where the investments performed so poorly that the guaranteed return had to be met from other revenue sources. That other revenue source is the non-public sector working family. Yet when an accountable defined contribution plan is introduced as a solution, the campaign-funding special interest machines come out making use of taxpayer money collected through forcing taxpayers to pay for the collection of union dues, and the measure fails. We can’t even manage to stop using the taxpayers to pay for the collection of these dues. Why?

Can it be that we simply don’t matter enough to find real and substantive solutions to the problem that meets the retirement needs of those in the Public Sector without stripping the working family from their own retirements and homes?

We also know that there are questions of inappropriate actions by the marketing investors who are making huge profits in the defined benefit system. Why can’t we get legislators to actually do something about this? Why is it so hard for them to understand that many of us simply feel like we don’t matter?

Pennsylvania is losing population. We are seeing more people leaving this state to move to other states. We know that part of the reason for this is because of lack of jobs coupled to the tax burden on working families in this state. The campaign funding-corporate position is to create more government programs that benefit the job creating industry but to fight any and every initiative that comes along to protect the working family in this Commonwealth. It would appear as though they don’t really care how much it costs the consumer as long as it benefits the corporate interest.

I understand the desire to protect your own interests but crushing consumers in the business environment is non-productive. Consumers should be the heartbeat of the corporate entities but when the government is there to provide the taxpayer funded welfare to these organizations through taxpayer funded grants, subsides and bailouts you remove the business responsibility to the consumer and make them accountable to government. This should come as no surprise to us since this model of welfare for the business community is the same being used to promote the social welfare programs. Push the financial burden, not on government, but on the shrinking middle class taxpayer.

The government doesn’t make money. Every dollar they spend is money taken from you and me. The growth of the administrative state, or deep government as it is called, comes at a very heavy price. We spend more money on these administrative bodies than we do on those we elect to office. There are more administrators in these created bodies than people we elect to office.

CommonwealthOrganizationalChartLarger-page-001

The above chart was recently made public showing the state of deep government in Pennsylvania. We don’t get to vote on their regulations which will drastically impact the tax burden we all face. We don’t get to vote on their fees and fines. In many cases, our General Assembly has delegated this authority to them without our consent. We don’t even get to vote on who holds these positions. If that’s not the definition of TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION, I don’t know what is!

The question arises:  Have we come this far in the betrayal of the principles that established this nation?

We can dig deeper and discover that many of the people in these positions are there because of roles they played in the campaign funding machines that help candidates get elected and incumbents hold on to their seats. It’s all part of protecting the campaign-funding machines in government. Once in position they will advance these protections and their agendas which are often opposite of the constituent position on these issues.

Recently there is this push to reduce the size of the legislature. We hear arguments like “reducing the size of the legislature will save the taxpayers money and it will cut down on the pension costs”.

I wish those same people felt as passionate about the Administrative State which is costing us far more money than our General Assembly. I am just supposed to ignore the fact that less legislators gives the establishment politicians more power while also empowering the campaign-funding special interest machines.

It will also result in more powers being delegated to the Administrative bodies resulting in more financial burden to the working families of the state.

The very idea that is being sold to the public purely from a questionable economic position is disingenuous.   It is a plan that will increase the power of those who hold office and those who fund them while reducing the power and voice of their constituents.

It won’t make it easier to get laws passed that protect working families in this state.  It will have the reverse effect: It will become harder.

It won’t make it harder to buy elections, it will become easier.

Less elected officials means less money has to invested in individual campaigns for the campaign-funding interest because there are less races to fund. In the meantime, the cost of getting elected will rise making it much harder for someone to rise up to challenge an incumbent. It becomes incumbency protection that has little regard for protecting individual constituents. That couldn’t be because we really don’t matter to them…or could it?

We look at elections through terms like “electability” and what that really means is the ability to raise money prior to and during the campaign season. We fight for transparent government so we get websites that allow us to follow the money but that is never put into a perspective that we can truly understand. It offers a glimpse into a very ugly big picture but we don’t really get to see the big picture itself.

What percentage of that campaign funding comes from individual citizens and working families compared to the percentage of money being raised by campaign-funding special interests? What’s even harder is to find out who is behind all these PACS and where that money is coming from or how that money is moving from organization to organization.

The Public Sector Unions are filtering money through these PACS and it’s next to impossible to track all of that down unless it becomes your full-time job. Even then you aren’t going to find it all.  To be blunt but realistic: it’s not an option for the average working stiff in Pennsylvania because they already have full-time jobs while trying to put food on their families tables. Their kids have sporting events, music recitals and other activities. They have less time to be politically activated and the campaign-funding machines want it to stay that way.

That’s not entirely true, they actually want to make it harder for us while telling us all they are fighting for more transparency.

I spend a great deal of my personal time doing the digging. Research is about 90% of what I do. I don’t get behind any issue until I have had sufficient time to explore the issue, the actual bill and the money involved. Many people know who I am because of the time I’ve spent publicly on the property tax issue. What many of those people don’t know is how much of that time is spent on compiling data, doing county by county comparisons, and other analysis. If I had 50 cents for every unpaid hour I’ve put into the research into this one issue, I’d be a very wealthy man. It’s not the only issue where I’ve spent considerable time researching.

Don’t misinterpret that. I don’t expect to get paid to do what I’m doing. I’m not asking for compensation. I’m just saying that just because a person doesn’t get paid to have an opinion, doesn’t mean that opinion or the facts they are stating should be invalidated.

To then be asked to sit on a panel debate on this issue where those of us who have done the research are outnumber by 20 to one by those who are repeating talking points handed to them by campaign-funding opposition factions that have fed them intentional misrepresentations of the legislation while having my hands tied so I can’t refute each individual misrepresentation becomes an exercise in futility. It’s not that we should have our people there. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not my intention. We need to have our people engaged in this debate but we also have to stop and look at what we are up against.

I don’t want to see that type of debate strengthened to weaken our voices and that’s what I see happening more and more.

We’ve been sold on a lot of bills based on a bill title or a bill summary but when you actual dig into the legislation and you read what’s in the actual bill you begin to realize that a very large percentage of the bills sold on good intentions and clever-sounding names betray both.

On more than one occasion we have been challenged by our opposition through the question of what qualifies us to have the opinion we hold on the property tax issue. It’s important to note here that this question is not questioning the facts…it’s not questioning the arguments. It’s making a statement that I, and others like me, have no official connection to some campaign funding political machine and therefore am not entitled to publicly express those facts and opinions derived from those facts or to comment on policy in general.

That just reinforces my sentiment that the working class average Joe doesn’t matter. Unless I’ve been indoctrinated through some institution of higher learning and aligned to some well-funded political activist organization, I don’t matter to them. I will be dismissed and I will be defined as someone who is insignificant. Forget the facts; forget the data; forget everything else. Then they wonder why more regular citizens are not engaged.

Recently one representative in Pennsylvania was questioned as to why he voted against an important paycheck protection bill. He said he voted the way he did because he supports police and fire-fighters. So do I. That doesn’t mean I think they are a protected class where their unions can extract money from their members using my tax dollars to support issues that hurt working families in this state and are even positions that many of their own members do not support. Claiming that not supporting a union position means I don’t support police and fire-fighters at all is ridiculous. This same representative is blocking a veterans groups attempts in having a custom license plate developed. Using his own arguments, wouldn’t that imply that he is opposed to veterans.

This is the pretzel logic we face everyday. I’m not opposed to unions. I just don’t think that my tax dollars should be used to collect any union dues…period. While I care about how those dollars are spent, when it comes to using tax-payer dollars to collect those dues, that becomes irrelevant to me. I don’t expect the government to force other taxpayers to pay for the collection of the dues to the organization I chair or to provide for our organization in any way. I don’t expect any special government protections at all. Having the right of freedom or association is not the right to force government, which means other taxpayers, to provide for it…end of story.

I can go on but this is already too long. The fact of the matter is simply this: I can cite example after example, regardless of campaign and political rhetoric and the public intentions of programs established by government and the campaign funding machines who have their ears, that have hurt the working families of this state and this nation. I can cite example after example where social and corporate welfare, supposedly created to help us, is actually hurting us…not only hurting us but forcing more and more individuals and businesses to become dependent on the government welfare model.

Earlier I asked a question:  Have we come this far in the betrayal of the principles that established this nation?

Dependency is the opposite of Independent and last I checked they still haven’t changed the name of the document that inspired this nation or the meaning of the word in it’s title.

The Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (Not some men defined by their credentials or affiliations, but all men) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed (All governed, not just those who participate in election racketeering), — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People (All people, not just the government created protected classes) to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

In November of 2017 the legislators in the state of Pennsylvania put the question to the voters. The majority told them plainly and clearly that we’re tired of the Property Taxes in Pennsylvania. We demonstrated that the campaign funding special interest out there are on the wrong side of this issue. In spite of the money they spent to defeat this measure, in spite of their credentials and affiliations, they do not represent the position the people of this Commonwealth. It remains to be seen what this will mean in our General Assembly. Will they look at the voting results and say the people have spoken or will they sit in their offices fighting against what the people want in the pursuit of their own Safety and Happiness?

I’m going to close this with a video. Watch it until the end and see who gets the bill? That’s the most important part of this video and it really does reflect a very truthful political reality. I’m not saying that all politicians are guilty because I know that there are still some good guys out there. I will go so far as to say there aren’t enough of them to affect the difference that working families need to see in our government.

So I ask you again:  Have we come this far in the betrayal of the principles that established this nation?