Disclaimer: Letters to the Editor express the opinion of the writer and are not necessarily the opinion of WBIG ownership, management or staff.
The PSEA has sent out false and misleading information to the members of the House of Representatives concerning House Bill 76, known as the Property Tax Independence Act. I will point out the false and misleading items in the letter written by Veronica Biegen, a PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association) spokesperson who sent the letter to Representative Vitali (D–District 166, Delaware County) to try to sway him from sponsoring HB 76.
HB 76 is not flawed, as it has been examined by financial people in both the state house and senate, and as a result, the final draft is now being sponsored by senators and representatives as the best way to provide relief for the middle income and lower income homeowners in Pennsylvania. It does not target working class families, as it spreads the school burden more equitably and opens the door to economic progress in Pennsylvania, to lift us from #46 in the USA to possibly #15 or better in economic progress, thus not only saving our seniors from losing their homes (36,000 now in foreclosure), but also spurring economic progress and so providing more and better jobs for our citizens. HB 76 allows all classes to share the burden of financing the schools and pensions of the teachers, which is now in a deficit of $400 million with no end in sight with the present system of financing the school system on the backs of homeowners. All people will now share this burden and also allow for the $400 million to be paid into the retirement fund for teachers. The small sales tax increase and the small income tax increase used to fund HB 76 will be shared by all, not a few of our Pennsylvania citizens. In addition, people traveling through our state will also contribute. I ask that you lend your name to sponsor this HB 76 for the betterment of all the Pennsylvania citizens, not a few.
The present system of teacher unions pension funding has put us in debt to the tune of $500 million. This new system will correct the deficit. Our teachers receive the second highest wages in the nation, while 36,000 of our people are in foreclosure—losing their homes.
Job creation will expand with HB 76 and lead us to have more jobs come to Pennsylvania. We are ranked #46 out of 50 states now in job creation. The sales tax will only increase a little over 1 percent and the revenue it brings in will increase jobs by out-of-state business coming into Pennsylvania, and this will increase jobs for the middle and lower income people. The largest amount of sales tax at present comes from middle and high income along with purchases for new home materials and remodeling of homes and commercial buildings.
It is a false statement that discretionary income is paying the majority of the sales tax at the present 6 percent rate. Increasing the sales tax a modest amount is minimal compared to the benefit of increased jobs in our state.
Another lie by the PSEA (or omission) is the fact of the unfunded school teachers’ pension of $400 million. This bill, HB 76, will stop the bleeding of our senior homeowners and others who are in foreclosure or very near to losing their homes because they cannot afford to pay the school property tax. Passing HB 76 will stop the $400 million from increasing.
If HB 76 is not passed our deficit will increase to beyond the $400 million, placing a greater burden on our homeowners and senior citizens who want to stay in their homes. There are more than 36,000 homes in foreclosure as the owners cannot pay the school tax and must leave their homes with more to come. This HB 76 is a win/win for teachers and their retirement. Please tell all our representatives to sponsor the bill and talk to their other representatives to sponsor this HB 76 and move forward to greater prosperity and jobs for the citizens of our state.
Thomas Dombroski, Trucksville