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LETTER: Property tax elimination will never happen
Forget about property tax elimination.
It will never happen and for a number of reasons.
No. 1 are the unions and how they control through lobbying and financial contributions to their representatives, the outcome of any proposed legislation. One such bill is HB/SB76 property tax elimination. While the bill passed the Senate Finance Committee, it failed when brought to a floor vote by one vote.
Noteworthy is the 11 Republicans and 12 Democrats that voted nay. (Refer to Pa. Senate Roll Call vote to see how your senator voted and then make your vote count.)
Since 2010 PSEA, AFSCME, SEIU, UFCW and PFT unions have contributed $18 million from political action committees to candidates and elected officials. What’s more, these same unions reported spending $40 million on political activities and lobbying using union dues.
Some recipients of these monies include: Gov. Wolf: $4 million; Sen. Vincent Hughes, $580,860; Sen. Jay Costa Jr., $409,500; Rep. Joe Markosek, $383,150; Rep. Ed Neilson, $320,422; Rep. Frank Dermody, $285,650; Sen. Rob Teplitz, $255,750; Sen. Anthony Williams, $252,000; Rep. Mike Hanna, $232,250; Rep. Kevin Boyle, $205,200; and Rep. Bill Keller, $184,050.
It is a crime for elected officials to use public resources for politics, and yet public resources are used to funnel union dues from workers’ paychecks to union leaders. The senators above all voted against SB76 and even though the Republicans held a majority in the Senate, the bill was voted down. Term limits will end this unethical practice.
On another subject is the cost of education and we all know that pensions are out of control and underfunded, but are you aware that in the public system there are almost 1,000 individuals who receive a six-figure income annually. For example: in the top 20 recipients, 13 are retired Penn State employees earning a mind-boggling $21,000 each month. Yes, that’s right, "each month." One individual retired after 25 years of service to Pa. Higher Ed. Agency and receives $26,200 per month.
How do we pay for this? We can't.
There's a lot of talk, by the Democrats, about the excesses of CEO pay in the private industry and ways to change that, but I believe they should spend their time in changing their own areas of financial responsibility. You want to lower college costs, then start with the above costs.
And, effective Oct. 1, 2017, we, the citizens of Pa., will be paying $568.2 million more for our government union workers and an additional $241.3 million for management and other non‑union employees, an 11.75 percent over the next three years. These agreements were signed and negotiated by the one and only
Gov. Wolf. How's that for looking out for us. And still today we look in the local paper and see page after page of homes being sold by the sheriff due to non-payment of taxes or other debts.
This is why I believe elimination of property taxes will never happen.