Can Dan Meuser eliminate property taxes at the Federal level?

There’s a radio ad airing where Dan Meuser says that he will introduce a proposal that will eliminate our property taxes at the Federal level.  On his campaign website he says the following:

“Under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution no state tax can contradict those enumerated in the United States Constitution. Should I win election to the United States Congress, I will introduce legislation that will require the states to comply with the Constitution and stop the unfair practice of taxing hardworking families out of their home.”

This concerns me because the Supremacy clause is often used to violate state rights.  The Supremacy Clause is only supposed to deal with powers enumerated to Congress  in our Constitution…not as an excuse to do what they will whenever they want.  What are those powers….interstate commerce, foreign affairs and commerce, matters of the military and war.

Meuser is only partially correct.  States cannot contradict Federal policy when Federal Policy coincides with the enumerated powers delegated to Congress by the states.  The problem with this proposal is that there is no power granted to Congress that would allow them to interfere with the internal taxation of the state that exists within that states border.  There is no enumerated power in the Constitution delegated to Congress to do what Meuser says he wants to do.

Granted, if there were a Federal Property Tax, Dan Meuser would be able to use the enumerated powers of Congress to eliminate such a tax because such a tax is outside the enumerated powers of Congress.  That’s not the case here.

It doesn’t matter how much we may hate the property.  This is not a Federal Issue.  It may even be that the Property Tax in Pennsylvania violates our State Constitution.  I think there are solid arguments to be made that the property tax violates parts of Article 1, Sections 1,2, 8, 9 and 10.  That, however is a state matter.

Perhaps Dan Meuser is operating on a false assumption that the property tax means the same thing from state to state.  That’s simply not true.  Property Taxes a levied through different means in different states as well.  It applies to different types of property in some states.  In no case whatsoever does the property tax in one state force the same principles of property taxation in any other state so it isn’t even remotely connected to principles of interstate commerce.

Alexander Hamilton says in Federalist 78: “There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.”

Again, Hamilton speak of delegated authority.  Congress can only act within the framework of the powers delegated to them by the people through their states.

Madison says in Federalist 45 that the “powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined and those powers are to be principally exercised upon foreign affairs, such as war, peace, negotiations, and foreign commerce.

Again, Madison speaks only of delegated authority.

Jefferson wrote in the Kentucky Resolves of 1798. “Whenever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritive, void and of no force.”

Let’s be clear, Any law made by Congress that is not made in pursuance to the Constitution, that is not withing the authority delegated to them by the people through the states, is no law at all.

That is why we have the 9th and 10th Amendments to our Constitution in our Bill of Rights.

The Supremacy Clause is NOT a limit of State authority, it is NOT a statement of absolute supremacy of the federal government in any matter they choose over the power of the States.

The Supremacy Clause tells those in the federal government that their power is limited by the Constitution through the delegated authority of the enumerated powers of Congress as ratified by the people through the States.  The States do not have to submit to any imposed or pretended authority of the federal government that is not made consistent with the powers delegated by the Constitution, which the States themselves created.

SB1137 – Exclusion is NOT Elimination!

A new bill dealing with property tax elimination was introduced on April 23.  It’s SB1137.  The bill is being touted as an elimination bill but it’s not really elimination and I’ll explain why.

To begin with the bill is not an elimination bill. It actually admits this on page one of the bill which states the bill is to be known as “the School Property Tax Exclusion Act.

On page 3 the bill offered definitions where it describes a homestead as “A dwelling, which is owned and not rented, and so much of the land surrounding it as is reasonably necessary for the use of the dwelling as a home, occupied by an applicant.

My immediate response is who gets to determine how much of the land on my property is necessary as a dwelling place. My wife and I no longer have any children living in our home. We live in a medium sized home within the city limits. We have street parking available to us. Do we really NEED our backyard to our city home? Do we really NEED that driveway? I guess that all depends on who you are talking to.

If you are talking to the people who want to use my home to fund their wants, then no, our small backyard and our driveway isn’t necessary.

On page four I learn that this tax is based on a privilege because I am employed. It says “Every resident individual, estate or trust shall be subject to, and shall pay for the privilege of receiving each of the classes of income enumerated in section 303 of the Tax Reform Code of 1971, a tax upon each dollar of income received by that resident during that resident’s taxable year at the rate of 1.98%

In other words I don’t actually earn my income…to the tax collector, I don’t get paid because I work, I receive it as a privilege for doing my job and because of that privilege they have a right to extort 5.05% of my income. If they look at us like this, is it any wonder why taxes in this state are such a mess.

Language like this would be laughable if it weren’t so insulting.  It’s not really just this bill.  The problem is that our tax code is established in such a way that this is how we are viewed.  We are the cash cow to be milked to provide for the governments growing desire to do political favors to certain groups of people at the expense of everyone else.  There is always some government “need”.  There is always some “crisis”.   This bill just exposes the way we are viewed by the people who want to tax  us as they continue in these efforts to reduce us to the realms of serfdom.

The additional 1.98% in PIT is not really elimination regardless of the rhetoric used to describe it.  For many of us, we will be paying the additional tax and still paying the property tax.  It’s an exclusion based on a determination of how much of your owner occupied property is actually eligible to be excluded and that’s going to be determined by some undefined powerful all-knowing beings who obtain that omniscience by some act of benevolent bestowance by the General Assembly. You know, just like those hired to do assessments on our properties for the property tax. Regardless of how many mistakes have been made, we were constantly told that their determinations for the purpose of taxation are accurate. Why?  Certainly not based on the evidence.  It true simply because they say so.

 

I’ve become so jaded and cynical that I constantly question why I stay in this fight.  We simply don’t have enough legislators willing to do the right thing because its the right thing to do.  We also have developed a system where the common working family gets raked across the coals by bad tax policy that views us as nothing more than collateral damage in a system that doesn’t really seem to care. That ideology is advanced and reinforced by the campaign funding lobbyist special interests. 

As I read through this bill I also came across this:

page 12…Each owner of real property seeking to have property approved as homestead property shall file an application with the assessor on a form developed by the department. Determinations with respect to the qualification of all or a part of a parcel of real property as homestead property shall be made by the assessor.

Page 13 says Applications shall be filed with the assessor not later than March 1 of each year

We have to file an application to get this exclusion. We have to file it annually. Failure to do so and you’ll have to pay the property tax because last years exclusion doesn’t count for this year. How much is that going to cost us for the additional paperwork and the filing of those papers? Will this require more government employees to process that work? More questions and few answers!

Then there is this:

The assessor may select, randomly or otherwise, applications filed under subsection (a) to review for false or fraudulent information

This is backwards. An assessor can do this randomly without suspicion to look for anything they would interpret as being fraudulent. There are just too many things in this bill that raise some very serious concerns to be able to support it. The above clause makes it so that I can no only not give it my support but is reason enough to fight against it. 

The good part of SB1137 is that by reading it you can discover so much that is wrong with how working families are treated in this Commonwealth.

I am reminded of Thomas Jefferson’s grievances against King George in our Declaration of Independence.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

Frankly, that is what I see with this legislation.  This becomes one more attempt to look at a very serious problem and make the problem worse, not better.  A way to expand the powers of government and take more of the protections to our Life, Liberty and Property away from us.  And yet, so many seem not to care.  

There will be those who hear elimination and will want to support this but be warned: The devil is always in the details and the details here contain grave potential.

The small business community will suffer because of this bill. It will give advantages to the corporate chains by punishing small business in the Commonwealth.  Where SB76 provided property tax elimination of those properties this does not. Many small business are already struggling with meeting property tax obligations. By going to a PIT only option, that will only increase that struggle.  

Renters will be hit very hard by this legislation. Under SB76 the property of a landlord would have been exempt but not under this legislation. That means that the property tax will still be in place for rented properties and they will continue to see the above inflationary taxes on those properties which will continue to increase the cost of rent by necessity. The authors of this bill claim they will provide for renters but there is NOTHING is this bill to justify that claim. Renters will continue to pay higher and higher rent while also paying the higher PIT rates.

The bill authorizes an exclusion, not an elimination of owner-occupied property. As already discussed, some assessor can determine that the land on which your home is located is not necessary for your home and therefore the land itself could still be taxed. When that happens you’ll pay a property tax on that land deemed non-essential for dwelling in your home and you’ll be paying the higher PIT tax. All of that seems like a potential train wreck to me.

The bill does nothing to address the non-uniformity of using property taxes to fund education. In fact it only pushes that non-uniformity even further.

The reason SB76 has not passed is because there is not enough political will among most of our legislators to get it done. That political cowardice is based on a fear of the campaign funding special interest lobbyists who continue to demonstrate how little they care about what happens to the people of this state so long as they get their slice of the pie.

I’m willing to concede that a homestead plan might be an option, but I don’t like it. I’d much rather see complete elimination. If there is a homestead plan it has to be responsible and while I question the potential of that, this bill certainly is not responsible. It is still looking at education funding on a select group of people while allowing for exemptions in education funding for many.  Rather than eliminating decades of tax shifting that we’ve seen with the property tax.  This becomes another tax shift scheme that fails to deliver on replacement.

Unlike 76 it is not a dollar for dollar replacement for the school property tax.  Since it doesn’t eliminate it, there remains that potential to be paying almost 2% of your PIT while also still having to pay property taxes.  To that end, it becomes another reduction scam, not an elimination plan.   That’s not why I got into this fight.  I know the inherent evil of the property tax and this will not put an end to that evil.

It doesn’t restore home-ownership to the home-owner but actually gives more power and authority to school districts and the government over our homes. That’s not why I got in this fight.

The property tax no longer works. It is now archaic and has already grown to be an out of control beast that can no longer be reigned in. It must be eliminated. This does not deliver. While claiming to reign in the beast, it is also unleashing other tentacles of this monster that has the potential of violating our liberties and that is a very serious problem to me.   

I hate to sound so pessimistic but is it really pessimism to look at something realistically and see little reason to be optimistic. 

Today I’me feeling very tired.  We understood that we were forced to support the referendum if we wanted to advance 76.  We were told that if the referendum failed it would send a signal that Pennsylvanians did not want to see school property tax eliminated.  Instead of using that tremendous opportunity to advance 76, they began to focus on ways to undermine 76 to give us the homestead plan.  Rather than give us a homestead elimination plan they gave us a homestead exclusion that doesn’t eliminate.  They gave us a plan that will reinforce the government desire to tell us what we need while unrestrainingly spending our hard-earned tax dollars on things government wants.  That’s a formula for economic disaster. 

This is a reminder of being careful what you ask for.  As I know there will be many who see this as beneficial to them personally at this point in time (and I would be among them-this plan would be very beneficial to me personally), the long term impacts on what this does to others for my benefit will ultimately hurt all of us.  That’s not why I got into this fight.  I don’t want to hurt others for my personal benefit.  I simply want a tax system that treats everyone the same. 

That is, apparently, too much to ask.

 

 

 

SB 1137 – Reigniting the Spark that set the American Revolution ablaze.

I am a student of the American Revolution…not just the War but of the events that led up to the American Revolution.  As I read through SB 1137 I came across a clause that shocked me.  Not just shocked me but began to anger me to the very core of my being.  Let me explain:
In 1760 The British, in their attempts to intimidate and control the people in the Colonies re-enacted and expanded something that was called the Writs of Assistance.
The Writes were endless search warrants that allowed appointed agents of government to search and seize property without due suspicion. It allowed the government to intimidate and target anyone who was not working to support the official position of the British ruling authority. Once a writ was allowed, the appointed agents in government were free to search your property whenever they felt like doing so.
James Otis Jr., a Boston Patriot and largely forgotten voice in the early days of the American Revolution rose up to oppose the Writs of Assistance in an very important hearing that led to the inclusion of the 4th Amendment in our Bill of Rights and the inclusion of Article 1 Section 8 in our Pennsylvania Constitution. It states:
The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures, and no warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things shall issue without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation subscribed to by the affiant.
James Otis Jr., argued that allowing this writs was a violation of our inherent rights. He argued that the writs were “the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever was found in an English law-book
He would go to proclaim “Every one with this writ may be a tyrant; if this commission be legal, a tyrant in a legal manner, also, may control, imprison, or murder any one within the realm. In the next place, it is perpetual; there is no return. A man is accountable to no person for his doings. Every man may reign secure in his petty tyranny, and spread terror and desolation around him, until the trump of the Archangel shall excite different emotions in his soul.”
Then he argued “Now, one of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one’s house. A man’s house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court can inquire. Bare suspicion without oath is sufficient.”
At the time John Adams was a young lawyer who witnessed the Otis oration. He would later write “But Otis was a flame of fire; with a promptitude of classical allusions, a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events and dates, a profusion of legal authorities, a prophetic glance of his eyes into futurity, and a rapid torrent of impetuous eloquence, he hurried away all before him. American Independence was then and there born. The seeds of patriots and heroes, to defend the vigorous youth, were then and there sown. Every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against Writs of Assistance. Then and there was the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child Independence was born. In fifteen years, that is in 1776, he grew up to manhood, and declared himself free.”
This introduction is important to what I’m about to say. I became aware of a new bill related to the School Property Tax that was just introduced in the Senate. That bill is SB 1137.
SB1137 is a bill that claims to eliminate property taxes on owner occupied homes by levying a 1.98% PIT tax on everyone taken the Pennsylvania PIT from 3.07% to 5.05%.  There are many issues I have with this bill but there is one clause in particular that is appalling.
Within that bill is this clause:
Page 7: Notwithstanding the provisions of section 353(f) of the Tax Reform Code of 1971, the department may permit the proper officer or an authorized agent of a school district imposing a personal income tax under this subchapter to inspect the tax returns of any taxpayer of the school district or may furnish to the officer or an authorized agent an abstract of the return of income of any current or former resident of the school district or supply information concerning any item of income contained in any tax return. The officer or authorized agent of the school district imposing a tax under this subchapter shall be furnished the requested information upon payment to the department of the actual cost of providing the requested information.
Putting this in layman’s terms it would authorize school districts to conduct tax audits against us. The Majority of school board directors simply aren’t qualified to conduct a tax audit so the school board will have to hire someone like a business manager to conduct these audits.
These would be appointed positions where they would be accountable, not to the taxpayers, but to the body within government who hired the, They would be agents hired to act in the interest of the school board, not elected to protect the interests of the people.
That’s a dangerous precedent because it does not actually eliminate the property tax and allows the schools districts to still tax our property while also granting them the authority to asses our tax returns.  It’s true that the language of 76 includes this provision concerning the local PIT but it does so by totally eliminating the tax.  This bill does not.  It keeps the local property tax and through finagling of the homestead act would not provide completely elimination for a owner-occupied homes while, at the same time, also expanding the power of government into new areas.  While it may have been tolerable in HB/SB76 it becomes intolerable in SB1137 because it fails to deliver complete elimination.  Furthermore 1137 adds the following….
The assessor may select, randomly or otherwise, applications filed under subsection (a) to review for false or fraudulent information
We are essentially, through this bill, authorizing the appointed agents of the school district to conduct searches of our tax filing randomly giving them access to a lot of important and private information.
Things like which charities we support; which candidates we gave money to; what exemptions we have applied for; our social security numbers and other private information would all become accessible to our school district.
Adding insult to injury there is no reasons for this to be in this bill. Replacing the school district tax with a PIT tax that is automatically deducted from your paycheck is no reason to allow school districts to do this whenever and however they please.
This will act just like the Writs of Assistance.  Like the Writs, it is a permanent authority. The appointed agents can use this against you any time the so choose.
The writs by passed the protections of a search warrant and so does this clause in this legislation while still retaining the authority to levy the school property taxes on portions of our property. It defines homestead as  a dwelling, which is owned and not rented, and so much of the land surrounding it as is reasonably necessary for the use of the dwelling as a home, occupied by an applicant.
This bill, if enacted, does not deliver elimination.  If the assessor determines that the land surrounding your home is not actually necessary for you to live in that home then they will still be able to tax that land.  SO we still have the property tax on portions of property determined by people being granted the authority to review your PIT taxes randomly at their will.
The ability of abuse is rampant where these agents, as it was with the writs, could use it to target political enemies with the threat of seizing their tax records to audit them at the whim and will of the school board.
It creates the potential for intimidating us from speaking out against something the school district wants that we may disagree with. We would know that doing so would put a target on our backs where we could be audited by the school board.
This clause in this legislation is very similar to the actions of the Writs of Assistance that first led the colonists to realize the attempt by the British Crown to reduce them absolute serfdom. Appointed agents of the School Board would have authority granted by this legislation in violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, to conduct searches and seizures of our tax filing, our personal property whenever they choose without specific warrant stating the reason for doing so.
It makes these appointed agents of the school board no longer accountable to the people or to the courts in seizing our tax records.
This is no small matter.  By not totally eliminating the tax and still expanding this authority we have created conflicts beyond reason.  
No matter how well-intended this bill is, and after reading the bill I seriously doubt those intentions, but no matter, the inclusion of this clause while still leaving the potential for abuses to our property calls into question our inherent rights to our Life, Liberty and Property.
The bill authorizes this ability to the agent of the school board indefinitely. It authorizes that agent to do so selectively where particular individuals can be targeted without stating just cause. It not only authorizes them to do so whenever they please, but as often as they please with no real recourse for us.
It operates on a principle of assumed guilt on the part of the taxpayer by giving this agent carte blanche with little to no accountability to the people. It places the people under the control of the school board.
The Pennsylvania Constitution gives no authority to the General Assembly to act in this manner.
257 years ago it was the warning of England’s plans to reduce them to serfs. It should be a warning to us as well.
When our opponents to SB76 talk about loss of local control, they aren’t talking about our control over our school boards, they are talking about their fear of losing control over us.
This new property tax bill will increase that school districts control over the people in ways that were never intended for our government.
Article 1, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution says
All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.
Section 2 of Article 2 continues by saying:
All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think proper
This clause in this bill seeks to violate both Section 1 and 2 of Article 1 in Pennsylvania Constitution.
It removes the power from us and places that power in the hands of an appointed agent of the School District.
It is a violation of the very principles that forced America to take up arms in the defense of their Life, Liberty and property against a government intent on reducing them to serfdom.
This bill needs to die and the clause within this bill needs to suffer a death so painful it never surfaces it’s ugly little head again. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “Not to Act is to Act. Not to Speak is to Speak”
I will fight it with every fiber of my being. I will not keep silent.

Who is Dan Meuser, Really?

Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated with any candidate in the race for the 9th Congressional District.  I am not affiliated with any organization which endorsed any candidate for any political office of any party in that district.  I raise these concerns because I care about the future of this country and our Commonwealth.

Most of us rely on slick commercials and campaign mailers to determine how we vote in elections but we really need to dig deeper.  We need to know and understand where those who seek our support in an election really stand.  That doesn’t mean getting into the dirt of personal attacks in the process of character assassination but we should at least be aware of the important part these candidates have played in shaping political policy and ideology.  We should be free to voice our concerns in the public forum about real issues that have an real impact or our lives.

Recently, the Dan Meuser campaign announced they have a proposal for the elimination of school property taxes. While, on the surface this sounds like good news for advocates of the proposal, I have to disagree. Dan Meuser is running for the 9th Congressional District in Pennsylvania. It’s a federal position, not a state position. The notion that a candidate who, if elected, would seek to violate the protection of state’s rights in establishing how they fund education in their state appalls me. It would be a direct violation of the 10th Amendment.

The Meuser campaign announced this as a proposal. That would mean a Federal bill since he’s not running for a state office. To then learn that some of our sponsors for the school property tax elimination plan are supporting this proposal only raises my concern about the political will to get this done at the state level. We’ve long held the concern about politicians who use this issue as a carrot on a stick in order to get elected or to hold on to their seats but haven’t fought for it once elected. Now Meuser is taking that Carrot to a whole new level.

The first official duty of every elected representative is to take an oath of office that includes pledging to uphold the Constitution. Congress has no enumerated powers to regulate how states fund education and for very good reason. It’s not a federal responsibility. The Meuser campaign is promising to violate the 10th Amendment to the Constitution and voter’s, because of their hatred for the tax, will base their vote on that promise without considering the consequences. The proposal is doomed to failure, but we need not worry about that because I strongly suspect that the proposal will go no further than a promise on the campaign trail. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned that he would make such a promise to exploit voter’s in a district where this issue is important.

The 9th Congressional District represents the loudest voice in the entire Commonwealth concerning advocates for School Property Tax Elimination. The bill originated in the Reading area and quickly spread to bring strong advocates on board from Lebanon, Bethel and Schuylkill. The two successful citizen advocacy rallies dubbed the “Fill-A-Bus-Tours” originated from Lebanon through the Lebanon 9-12 Project. PA Liberty Alliance hails from Bethel. They’ve been behind the very successful door to door campaigns taking the message of school property tax elimination across the state. The founder of the PTCC hails from the Berks area.

The history of the town halls all have involvement from the Founder of the PTCC, The President of PA Liberty Alliance, who hails from the Schuylkill area and the Chair of the Lebanon 9-12 Project from Lebanon County. This is one of the hottest issues in this district and for it to be exploited for political purposes is an insult to those who have worked so hard to get this bill where it is.

The Berks County Patriots initiated a Tri-County effort that brought together representatives from Berks Patriots, PA Liberty Alliance, Lehigh Valley Patriots and the Lebanon 9-12 Project for the purpose of interviewing candidates. The hard work of this effort in doing research on the candidates that went beyond just interviews has brought very valuable information to the forefront.

As part of the Tri-County research team, this had me start doing some homework on this candidate. It turns out that this is not the first time that Dan Meuser has misrepresented facts to the people of Pennsylvania.

Dan Meuser was appointed as Secretary of Revenue during the Corbett Administration. In spite of Tom Corbett’s promise to sing the bill if it came to his desk. Corbett refused to use his office as Governor to advocate for the legislation. Even when he was seeking re-election, he refused to take this issue on the campaign trail.

As far as Dan Meuser, as Secretary of revenue he made two commitments to the people of the Commonwealth that were betrayed resulting in a cost in the millions that had to be paid for with tax payer dollars.

As Secretary of Revenue, Meuser pushed for privatizing the state run lottery system. He pushed to sell the lottery to a global lottery consulting firm, Camelot Global Services, not based in the United States, but a Canadian owned company operating out of the United Kingdom. The final decisions rested with Kathleen Kane but both Democrats and republicans in Pennsylvania voiced concerns about the legality of doing what Meuser proposed.

The Attorney general’s office reviewed the deal struck with Camelot Global and declared it unconstitutional. They pointed out that the deal included expanding the system of gambling in the Commonwealth beyond what was permitted by statutory law. The contract went beyond that which was approved by lawmakers when gambling was legalized in the state. It was also pointed out that profits from gambling in the state would have gone into a foreign based company rather than going to provide directly for services to seniors in the state. (https://www.watchdog.org/pennsylvania/updated-pa-s-private-lottery-contract-unconstitutional-ag-says/article_0ca2e77d-48a7-580b-9023-a50b0d48b80b.html)

And yet, Meuser still pushed for this. In 2013 AG DePasquale finally called for the termination of the deal which was originally supposed to cost taxpayers $725,000 to implement but had run up costs to $4.6 million, more than 4 times to original proposal. (http://www.paauditor.gov/press-releases/auditor-general-depasquale-urges-end-to-spending-on-lottery-privatization-calls-for-legislature-or-governor-to-act-by-dec-31)

As Secretary of Revenue Meuser also proposed an upgrade to the computer system that would cost Pennsylvanians $130 million dollars. The company hired to do the upgrade was Accenture, a global technology consultant, who had previously been fired by the state of Maryland for a similar project due to wasteful spending and missed deadlines. Dan Meuser assured Pennsylvanians that the same would not happen to Pennsylvania. He was wrong.

In 2015 the state cut ties with Accenture because it never delivered on it’s promise to upgrade the system. After over $100 million was spent they only upgraded state’s business tax system. A new firm had to be hired at an additional cost to taxpayers of $57 million dollars. (http://levittownnow.com/2018/03/08/pa-department-of-records-spending-57m-in-second-try-to-update-computer-system/)

Now Dan Meuser wants to take that type of fiscal irresponsibility to Washington D.C.

As we began to dig deeper we discovered some other troubling aspects.

Dan Meuser tells us that he supports building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants and yet Dan Meuser’s firm, Pride Mobility, was fined for hiring illegal aliens. Wayne County District Attorney noted that the fine was the largest fine ever levied on a Pennsylvania Manufacturing business consisting of 58 violations of immigration laws. The company was fined $41,000. According to Zimmer the first offense for hiring an illegal at the time was $2,000 per illegal alien. (https://www.timesleader.com/archive/272762/stories-records-on-fine-for-illegals-gone2c-meuser-says103673)

More digging revealed that Pride Mobility, Dan Meuser’s firm, “agreed to pay $80,000 to resolve its liability for violations of the kickback provision of the Civil Monetary Penalties Law.” according to the testimony of Dara Corrigan, Acting Principal Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. That report, which discusses attempts to defraud the Medicare system, includes the following statement: “In Pennsylvania, an OIG investigation revealed that, through a marketing program, Pride Mobility Products Corporation, a manufacturer of power wheelchairs, scooters, and lift chairs, solicited and received monthly payments from supplies in return for referring sales leads to those suppliers.” The official testimony also states, “in addition to the payment under the settlement agreement, the company was also required to adopt and implement certain compliance measures.” (https://oig.hhs.gov/testimony/docs/2004/042804fin.pdf)

Then it was discovered that, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times (7/9/07) and The Citizen’s Voice (6/30/07), Dan Meuser’s firm was forced to settle in case involving Software Piracy. The case involved a $380,000 fine to settle a software piracy case with the Business Software Alliance (BSA). As BSA noted “Software piracy is against the law, costing millions of dollars in tax revenues and lost jobs. In 2005, the United States lost $6.9 billion as a result of software piracy”. The Citizens Voice reported that Meuser’s company was fined for “unauthorized use of Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft, and Symantec software”.

All of this information is particularly troubling to me as a resident of Lebanon County since The Lebanon County Republican Committee rushed through an endorsement of Dan Meuser without allowing for input from any of the other candidates in this race. The Lebanon County Republican Committee is chaired by Casey Long, who is working for the Meuser campaign, but did not disclose this to the other committee members. To my understanding the only issue that was addressed concerning Meuser is that he doesn’t reside in the 9th Congressional District. Blaming last minute redistricting and downplaying the importance of actually residing in the district you are representing was the excuse.

That brings me to the final issue…Campaign Contributions.

Dan Meuser has been a financial supporter of Matt Cartwright, a Democrat that is sometimes referred to as being left of Obama. If Meuser ran in the district he lives, he would have to challenge Matt Cartwright, someone he’s financially supported in elections. Troubling contributions through his PAC go beyond just his support of Matt Cartwright.

While Dan Meuser claims to support Lou Barletta as a Senate Candidate, financial contributions from the Meuser run PAC have gone to his Democrat opponent, Bob Casey. Other questionable contributions include donations to Hillary Clinton, Charlie Rangel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Those contributions helped to give the Democrats control of Congress which, at the time, gave us Obamacare.

It would be good to have honest answers to each of these concerns but Dan Meuser has worked hard to evade directly answering these relative questions. When confronted about the hiring of illegals, Dan Meuser stated he can’t produce the records on the case because they no longer exist. He refers to only 3 illegals, but as District Attorney Zimmer pointed out, the fine indicates the problem was much greater than Meuser admits. That information comes from the Times Leader article cited above.

Records from the Software Piracy case have also mysteriously disappeared as well. If not for archived newspaper accounts, this information would not be known because they’ve disappeared from the record. That makes me incredibly uncomfortable and very reminiscent of the Hillary Clinton talent for making things disappear.

As Thomas Jefferson stated “Shake off all the fears & servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”