A printer-friendly version of this page in Adobe Acrobat
(PDF) format is available here.
To ensure proper printing, please use Acrobat's print icon instead of your browser's "Print" command.
08 June 2008
The Rally and Your Help!
The “Save Our Homes” rally was held on June 2 in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg and was, by most accounts, a huge success. We had a great turnout of enthusiastic homeowners and lawmakers from both parties and our voices were heard loudly and clearly.
The media coverage was somewhat spotty and sometimes was tremendously inaccurate but we still had quite a bit of favorable coverage and a few good editorials.
A recap of the rally that includes photos, a complete video of the event, and media coverage has been posted on the PTCC website here. Please take a few minutes to check it out and, if you have the forty minutes to spare, please watch the video – it contains a lot of good messages.
The rally was a terrific starting point but we need intensive follow-up over the next few weeks to hammer the message home. Here are the details:
If the rally is insufficient to motivate the House Democratic Leadership to report HB 1275 out of the Appropriations Committee, Representative Sam Rohrer intends to again attach the bill’s language as an amendment to one of the budget bills that must be debated during June. I’ll be sending another update about this when details become available.
HB 1275 has undergone two major revisions from the version that was debated in January. The sales tax has been eliminated for five major retail professional services – legal, accounting, architecture, engineering, and computer – to blunt the intense lobbying, mostly from the Pennsylvania Bar Association, that helped to kill the bill in January. The revised version of HB 1275 also offers no property tax reduction for commercial properties but caps their taxes at current levels. This was another major hurdle that couldn’t be overcome in January.
The bottom line is that all of the major objections to the School Property Tax Elimination Act have been addressed and the politicians have NO MORE EXCUSES for not passing this bill.
I have just one short story to tell you. At the rally one lawmaker told me that I should tell all HB 1275 supporters to let their representative know that the sales tax has been removed from food and clothing. I was taken aback by this comment, as the provision for taxing food and clothing was eliminated from HB 1275 over a year ago. Nevertheless, he said that some of his colleagues told him in January that they would not vote for HB 1275 because it taxes food and clothing!
At first I was flabbergasted by this but my reaction quickly turned to outrage and tremendous anger. For whatever reason, these politicians voted against a bill that they didn’t even understand! If they are so blatantly ignorant of the provisions of a bill that is so urgently needed, if they are so lazy that they can’t take the time necessary to learn about such vital legislation, they do not deserve to be representing us.
The June vote on HB 1275 will be a litmus test for the November elections. Both the PTCC and the PCTA, along with several newspapers, are advocating the ouster of any lawmaker who votes against this bill. It is time to let the politicians know that we will stand for no more delays, no more political games, and no more excuses. They must be sternly warned that their jobs will be on the line in November if they again refuse the will of the people that they supposedly represent.
** ACTION ITEM **
The key to passage of HB 1275 is not only your own representative but the House leadership of both parties. It is the leadership who tells their members how to vote on an issue and all will follow these leaders like sheep except for the few courageous, independent lawmakers who deserve our thanks.
During the next week or so, please telephone, write, or e-mail your representative to let him or her know that you strongly support HB 1275, the School Property Tax Elimination Act, and that you expect them to vote for this bill when debate begins in June. You can locate your representative’s contact information from the “Find Your Legislators” link in the left column of any PTCC webpage.
In addition, please contact the House leaders listed below my signature to firmly tell them that you want HB 1275 enacted NOW. These leaders can make all the difference in the passage of this legislation and it is very important to tell them your feelings.
The June debate will offer us another opportunity to make HB 1275 a reality and your help is urgently needed. Please do all you can top spread the word to everyone you know and to tell the politicians that we want action NOW.
Thank you so much for your continuing support! Please feel free to write to me at any time with concerns or questions, and your comments are welcome on the PTCC blog that you can access from the top of any PTCC webpage.
Republican Caucus Leader:
Hon. Samuel H. Smith
527 East Mahoning Street
Punxsutawney, PA 15767
Fax: (814) 938-1950
Democratic Caucus Leader:
Hon. H. William DeWeese
222 Elm Drive
Suite 101, P.O. Box 832
Waynesburg, PA 15370
Fax: (724) 627-6043
Democratic Caucus Whip:
Hon. Keith R. McCall
162 West Ridge Street
Lansford, PA 18232
Fax: (570) 645-9526