Action Item - The Real Faces of the Issue

24 March 2008

Dear Friends,

I recently came across a quote from former Virginia Governor Mark Warner that truly describes the political situation in Harrisburg: “Politics is the only business where doing nothing other than making the other guy look bad is an acceptable outcome.”

Governor Warner’s statement accurately describes the reason why the school property tax elimination issue continues in limbo in Harrisburg: self-serving political gamesmanship that ignores the needs of the people in favor of political gain. But if you’re willing to participate, today’s Action Item can be a great help in moving the property tax issue past the games and into the forefront of the Harrisburg agenda.

There have been recent announcements from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives where lawmakers tout their agenda for healthcare reform, energy reform, and leasing the turnpike - all designed to grab headlines before the elections. But NOTHING is being said about property tax reform because NOTHING is being done about what is probably the most urgent issue facing Pennsylvanians today.

It’s my opinion that many lawmakers tend to view these issues in the abstract, seeing them simply as pawns to be played on the chessboard of Harrisburg election year politics rather than considering how these problems affect the lives of the people that they supposedly represent.

It’s time to show the lawmakers the REAL faces of the property tax issue to let them know how their political games affect the lives of REAL people!


The PTCC and PCTA are collecting real-life stories of folks who are in distress from relentlessly increasing school property taxes. These stories will be compiled into one document to be presented to legislative leaders and the governor as examples of how their procrastination on this issue is destroying the lives of Pennsylvania homeowners – both working families and retirees.

During the next few days PLEASE send a paragraph or two to the PTCC that tells how out-of-control school property taxes are affecting your and your family’s quality of life. You may sign the letter if you choose or submit it anonymously, but please at least indicate your county of residence. If you have neighbors or friends who are experiencing financial difficulties because of the property tax problem, please have them send their stories as well. Send your letters to; the compilation as submitted to the lawmakers will be posted on the PTCC website when it’s completed.

Here’s just one example:

Last week I received a call from a 71 year old widow who was forced to raid her tax savings fund to pay for fuel oil and now has no way to pay her property taxes. She keeps her thermostat at 56 degrees, basically lives in one room with a space heater, and has gone back to work cleaning houses so she can afford to buy food. This woman lives in a very modest house in a school district where last year the district was granted an exception to the Act 1 index and raised property taxes by 8.6%; they were granted an exception again this year and will increase taxes 6.7%. That's more than 15% in two years. This woman is despondent from the fear of losing her home and having no place to live.

Stories like this one are UNACCEPTABLE! These politicians MUST be shown that their inaction is jeopardizing the welfare and the lives of many thousands of Pennsylvanians; they MUST understand that what they are doing (or not doing) is destroying the future for good, honest people who only want to live their lives without the fear of financial ruin. Significant pressures above any that have ever been seen are affecting folks and this effort will help to get the information necessary to quantify this issue.

Finally, if you want further proof of the terrible tax situation in Pennsylvania, please read this article from Kiplinger’s Magazine that outlines the best and worst states for total tax burden on retirees. Guess which state is rated the worst?

You can help to end this deplorable situation by responding to today’s Action Item – please take a few minutes to do so and feel free to also post your comments on the PTCC Blog site.

The taxpayers of Pennsylvania can no longer be ignored!

In closing, I want to thank all of you for your continuing support of our efforts to achieve honest, equitable school finance reform. Please work to enlist the help of your family, friends, and neighbors in this campaign so we can have an even larger base of support for the benefit of all Pennsylvania taxpayers and schoolchildren. Please forward this e-mail to as many folks as possible! The more hands, the better!

Your questions and concerns are always welcome – please write to me at

David Baldinger
PTCC Administrator


Anonymous said...

Local school boards give the store away to the teachers.

The Downingtown Area School Board recently settled with the teachers giving them raises totaling over 4.5% per year.

There is no other industry known getting these kind of raises. Also note that while most employees pay about 30% of the cost for their healthcare, the teachers are only paying about 7%.

This is outrageous!

Pension benefits (paid for by the taxpayers) are also outrageous!

Get control of the teachers unions and you will get control of the school taxes.

W. Whitman
W. Brandywine Twp.

Anonymous said...

IT APPERS AS THOUGH THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ELECTED MAINLY CARE ABOUT ONE THING,GETTING RE ELECTED & KEEPING THERE FAT PAYCHECKS ALONG W/ THE BENI"S. Especially a retirement package,,,we should all be so lucky!! Sam Roher has led the fight for tax relief we owe him a vote of thanks. It seems though he is hitting a brick wall and a lot of DO NOTHINGS that are too concered about themselves. I especially love the one where they vote their concience,,,they are supposed to be doing our bidding and representiong us,,the people of Pa and whats best for us NOT THEIR FEELINGS !! Its becoming clear that its time to head Florida and take my business w/me. Theres nothing more revolting than the backslapping politician we all get to hear from at election time and then go back to their own personal agendas. Our Governor has indicated that the PA turnpike would be better run by private business,,,I guess he saying that he cant. Residents of PA. get off your tail and make some noise,,its in your own best interest. Do I sound irritaed ,,,,,I AM.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Wilkes Barre area school Dist. the taxes here are over the top. I live on a SSID check and thats 24 dollars i recived this Yr. didnt help one iodia Everything else has gone up, but my check. I watch on TV. the proceedings for the tax break with the hope that I will get a break. all i hear is a break for the seinors. Not one person i've spoken with over 60 knows what the lottery monies does for them let now thay want the gameing money to go to them also. five years from now thay mostlikely wont know what the gameing money does either.
Here in luzerne county we have our elected officals spending our money on drinks in strip clubs when that money can help the people. spending is out of hand.
it's time for a clean slate!!!

Anonymous said...

Our Pennsylvania legislature is an embarrassment. I have no intention of voting for any of them. It is totaly useless. They represnt no one but themselves. My goal is to get the heck out of this state. It is a big black hole and the legislature is proud of it.

Anonymous said...

My family and I are trying to pay our tax bill, but find it impossible to get enough money together, without borrowing from family, to pay it. We have paid it in the past by home loans,ect,and now have no savings, nothing we can sell, no one to borrow from, and the school district in Kiski area keeps raising the tax burden. They are building buildings for the administration, maintainance, tearing down 10 year old buildings and putting up new, giving the administration200,000 dollar salaries and janators 75,000 a year with no education, just connections.
Please help us. I do not want to move, but Montana is looking awfully good.
J.D. Kiski area school district.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry the casinos will help the situation, or maybe NOT. Don't worry the new stadium with the tax payer TEMPORARY monies will help the situation; then maybe NOT.

Good people think of whom you cast your vote for. Think who really is for America. Don't let the commercials, debates or the "Good Morning Americas" shows fool you.

I feel the pain just as much as anyone else does. I am a Christian family person and very conservative and I feel we are heading for disaster with these upcoming politicians.

I do have one concern with the school taxes. If we deprive this entity from improving the quality of teaching, which isn't the greatest, we will be faced with less capable teachers, less teaching materials, and my biggest concern, crime. We cannot allow our children to be exposed to these conditions.

Please think before you act.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Aaron Durso is a supporter of HB1275 if he was elected for the 130th district? Is seems like he is based an article in the Mercury, but it doesn't mention the Bill. Both Richard Gokey and David Kessler claim to be in favor of eliminating property taxes, but clearly they do not support HB1275. Neither of them will get my vote. Kessler was a complete let down and I received an email from Gokey where he claims a graduated income tax is the best solution to eliminate property taxes.

PA Taxpayers Cyber Coalition said...

Yes, Aaron Durso has specifically stated that he supports HB 1275.

Although David Kessler voted for the HB 1275 amendment (probably because of intense taxpayer pressure) he has not co-sponsored the bill and has shown no other support.

You are correct about Richard Gokey. He advocates a progressive income tax for tax relief and has shown no support for HB 1275. We don't know if he has read the provisions of HB 1275, but if he hasn't it would behoove him to do so. It is by far the best solution available.

Anonymous said...

For many years I have had some real health problems cropping up one after another that has prevented me from working in almost any capacity. Even sitting for long periods is a problem.

I collect no disability, or unemployment compensation. I have too little saved toward retirement and can only pray I can eventually return to the working world to catch up. While my wife, God Bless her, is the income provider, I am limited to making home repairs, and doing housework as I am physically able to keep the costs down.

Our roof has leaked into our living room for 5 years, and the exterior of our home is falling apart. Wood is rotting, rain gutters need repairs,and we desperately need to paint, however these tasks are things I cannot physically do, or can financially afford.

We cannot even begin to save enough to get these repairs done. Our average savings generates only $2.00 of interest a year as we live paycheck to paycheck. A home equity loan has been considered, but the added monthly cost is just too much to bear.

My wifes employer announced it is reverting to a health savings medical plan next year which will make it even more difficult to save. Gas and food prices are also going through the roof.

Despite my wife getting at least a cost of living raise each year our school taxes are rising even faster. We had to pay them late last year, with an added penalty. If they were eliminated it would give us the funds we need to get back on our feet.

Others are feeling the pinch too. Our daughter was married a few years back and for a year they have had difficulty finding a home they can afford in PA that is within a reasonable driving distance from work. The property taxes in the lower cost areas are so high they drive the monthly payment through the roof.

They are considering leaving the state as many of their friends did.

Harrisburg has blinders on and the leadership from the top down should be voted out of office.

rossulbricht said...

It is not the teachers unions or the politicians in Harrisburg, these are symptoms of the problem. The real reason we are having our precious savings stolen from us in the name of the law is we have entrusted the most important institution in our society, the education of our children to a group of people known to be corrupt. And its not just the current office holders, power corrupts, and anyone given the power we give the elected officials will eventually be corrupted. It is time to take our children's education back into our hands and stop the oppressive taxation of OUR land. Privatize education and let US decide where and how our children will be educated!