Is Scott Wagner serious about School Property Tax Elimination?

As a long time advocate for the elimination of the school property tax, seeing Scott Wagner on the campaign trail as he talks about this issue is a refreshing change in the race for Governor.

At the same time I find it very frustrating when supporters of this legislation take every opportunity to nitpick and complain that Scott might be just another politician blowing smoke to get elected.

Over the last four years I’ve spent some time in Harrisburg and I’ve gotten to see a side of Scott Wagner that is not a part of the general narrative about him.  His opponents seek to paint him as a one dimensional tyrant who forces his will on everyone like a bully on the playground.  That is, quite frankly, not Scott Wagner.  Sure, He’s a bit gruff and he speaks his mind in terms that don’t always sound like a typical politician  but he is also a person who actually genuinely cares about people and I’ve seen that first hand as well as heard it in his voice.

Here’s a cold hard fact!  As a Businessman, Scott will NOT benefit from eliminating school property taxes.  He’ll wind up paying more through the PIT than he currently pays in property taxes.  In my conversions with Scott he has shown me how this will impact his business.  While that’s important, that’s not what matters to him the most.  What matters is that Scott understands that the school property tax, as it is, is fundamentally flawed and is crushing thousands of people every year and he’s willing to take a stand and fight for them because they matter to him.

Scott knows that eliminating the school property tax will be a benefit to the state and in the long-term, that’s good for Pennsylvania and ultimately, good for businessmen like Scott.  Scott is willing to take a stand for a principle instead of sacrificing those principles for his own self-interest.

His passion for school property tax elimination is very genuine and its rooted in principled fiscal reforms that work.  I’ve sat through meetings in Harrisburg where Scott was present and that passion has been there since he was elected as Senator during a contentious write in campaign.  I was there when this was coming up for a vote in 2015 and I saw, first hand, the effort Scott put in to making this happen against incredible pressure from lobbying self-serving special interests who buy politicians through campaign funding mechanisms like most of us buy coffee.

A few months ago I was honored to be a part of group who interviewed candidates before the primary.  This group, the Tri-County Coalition, consisted of leaders from the grassroots efforts from Lehigh, Berks, Schuylkill and Lebanon.  As part of those interviews we spent 90 minutes with Scott Wagner.  A good deal of that meeting was involved in a discussion related to School Property Taxes and their elimination. Part of the honor was in watching as others heard and saw what I’ve known all along.  Scott is our best chance of seeing this become a leading issue from the desk of the Governor.  Scott won’t be waiting for a bill to sign into law, he’ll be using his office to help make that law happen and it’s about time!

Scott understands the issue and he understands the solution.  He supports it.  End of story.

I find it incredibly ironic when supporters of HB/SB76 raise all these negative sentiments, particularly the sentiment that Scott isn’t polished or that he doesn’t act like a normal politician.  Aren’t we all tired of that?

What would you rather have, a polished politician who has their rehearsed lines to tell you what you want to hear or a person who cares enough to look you in the face and say in plain and simple terms things we all need to hear?  No, he’s not polished and I find that to be a refreshing change from the status quo.

I’ve participated in about two dozen legislative meetings over the past four years that Scott was a part of.  He has never wavered in his support of this legislation even when some of his colleagues started to jump ship after the 2015 vote.  He’s now taken this issue on the campaign trail and the same people who constantly complain that “nobody” knows about the bill are now complaining as Scott is telling everyone he meets about School Property Tax Elimination.  I don’t get it!  I really don’t get what the point is!

Scott is doing what NO OTHER candidate for Governor has done in the entire history of more that 35 years in the fight to eliminate this egregious tax.  He has made it a centerpiece of his election and he’s out on the road talking to people.  He’s making commercials and he’s pushing the effort.  He’s not only doing what NO OTHER candidate for Governor has done in the past, Scott is doing something that damned few of our legislators, the ones necessary to get this bill to the Governor’s desk, aren’t doing…He’s talking about it.

Yes, I’ve been thankful that people like Senators Folmer and Argall have talked about this publicly.  I’m thankful for my house Rep. Frank Ryan, who also made this bill a centerpiece of his election efforts and has done much in advancing this issue in the house.  Their work and effort can not be overlooked but having a candidate for Governor to take the lead on this issue should be a sign of hope, not the continually doubt and despair I see from some supporters.

They say, “We’ve heard all this before.”  Yes, but you haven’t heard it like this and you certainly haven’t heard anything close to this from a candidate for the Governor’s office.

We have to understand that we have a leadership issue in Harrisburg and it’s a disease that impacts both chambers.  We have leadership whose only real vision for Pennsylvania seems to be to appease the powerful campaign funding lobbying interests who are more than willing to sacrifice principles on the altar of self interest.  That leadership wields that power over legislators to punish those who won’t walk in step.  No need to point party fingers here-both are guilty.

That’s not going to change until leadership in the parties changes and that’s where the office of Governor comes in.  As Governor, Scott Wagner will fight for School Property Tax Independence.  He will put the pressure on leadership to do what is necessary to make that happen and then we will see the movement and momentum we need to see.  He will challenge the naysayers and stand up for the people of the Commonwealth because he really does care about them, all of them, not just the public sector union bosses who funnel taxpayer supported funding into campaigns that work against the best interest of their own members and the rest of the state.

We are on an unsustainable path and the current governor’s solution is to take us further down that path.  This fiscal insanity has to stop before it collapses under its own weight and nowhere is that more evident than it is with the property tax.  Waiting for the collapse is not a solution, its a recipe for disaster.

The current governor has had almost four years to use his position as Governor to advance this issue of School Property Tax Elimination to reform how we fund education.  I was part of a series of meetings with the Governor and he told me that if the bill came to his desk he would sign it.  That was more than two years ago and what has he done since then.  NOTHING!

But now, here is Scott Wagner who has actually been fighting for this issue since he became a Senator and has now brought it to the forefront of an election forcing an issue to be discussed that many don’t want talk about and he’s moving us forward. Yet supporters come out of the woodwork to make silly statements of doubt and distraction.

The same opposition that is fighting against us and against this legislation will be fighting against Scott Wagner.  They already know what some of our supporters don’t seem to get.  Scott Wagner will do everything in his power, once elected, to make this happen.  They will be raising tons of money to spread misinformation about this legislation as they already have in the past.  Stop making their job easier!

We spend far too much time making this fight harder than it has to be.  Lord knows, with all our opposition it’s been an incredible struggle, but to see this among our own rank and file is counter-productive.

During the primary, I made an attempt at explaining the difference between the political rhetoric of another candidate and Scott Wagner’s actual support of School Property Tax Elimination.  What I said then still stands!  Electing Scott Wagner as our Governor is a tremendous step forward in seeing school property taxes eliminated.  It will make our job of pressuring legislators easier because we’ll have a Governor who will be doing the same.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Isn’t getting this bill passed what we are here for!

Please don’t misconstrue anything written here to be self-serving by promoting my role in pushing this legislation forward.  It’s not about me.  I’m just trying to share information and perspectives on this issue from what I’ve seen as an advocate.  I know that we wouldn’t be here without the hard work of many in this process, without the efforts of people from both sides of the aisle from all walks of life and I’m eternally grateful for everything that’s been done.   It will be working together that will get this across the finish line and maintaining a proactive and positive voice about the importance of the issue in support of those fighting so hard to make it happen.

No one person will make this happen.  It takes all of us and to everyone who has stepped up, I say thank you!

While no one person will make this happen, the end goal is elimination and Scott Wagner makes that far more possible.  So let’s stop the nit-picking and work to get him elected as we continue to push for a legislative body that finally hears the voice of the people of this Commonwealth to put an end to the most hated tax in the state.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Is Scott Wagner serious about School Property Tax Elimination?

  1. Amen. And while we are at it, why not help him get the extra 4% he needs by stopping the unethical and futile resistance to cannabis law reform. Our homes and our health are the two most important things we have. School tax elimination and the end of cannabis prohibition will serve both well.

  2. The elimination of the school property tax in my opinion would be a dream come true. Just as the Repeal of the Motorcycle helmet law was a dream come true. That latter shows that, “We the People” have the say in this Commonwealth, as to how it is Governed. I know that we have issues with our crumbling infrastructure and are schools are no exception. As for the funding for the “UPKEEP” of the system of education, I have no problem with contributing to that cause, Just as I have no problem with funding the fixing of our roads. What “I do have a problem with”, is being at the Will or Whim for our Local “School Boards”, when they decide to increase the “Millage”, to generate revenue. That is Illegal ! I have no children, and I am in no way a burden to the school system! In the very least, the tax on property should be a “FIXED AMOUNT” only to ever be increased by a Commonwealth wide referendum!

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