Friday, August 9, 2013

The most regressive tax

   Taxes collected by governments are usually collected in 3 major ways, income tax, sales tax, and property tax. Let's take a brief look at them. 

   Income taxes are collected where you earn it by your employer, no chance to be a deadbeat there - you earn, you're taxed. Sales tax is collected at the point of sale, you have the money to buy the product you need 6% or 7% more to complete the transaction. Again, no chance to become a deadbeat. That is because both of these taxes are based on the prior requisite of already having the money. That is key. 

   Owning property only means that at one time somebody saved and had the earning potential to buy a house. And there was a tax at the point of sale that had to be paid to complete the transaction legally. After that why is there an assumption that the owner will earn an increasingly higher wage to pay for an ever increasing tax rate? When people get older they tend to work less overtime, change jobs, and eventually retire. 

   The property tax is a holdover from the Middle Ages. Then owning property almost always meant you were making money from it through agriculture. The land owner was then obligated to pay a share to the King in return for the security of living in the Kingdom. This is an abridged and simplified version of course. But the key point is, land owners were making money off their land. This remained true for most land owners for some time after the end of serfdom and before the industrial age. But we are no longer an agriculturally based society and yet taking tax from the land owners remains. In fact upkeep of homes, houses, and property in general is a significant drain and not a source of wealth. 

   So the property tax is actually the most regressive tax there is, taking more while you could be earning less. Why do we still have it?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Help us fill this bus!

Would you be interested in taking a bus to Harrisburg on Tuesday, September 24th to rally and lobby our legislators to pass the School Property Tax Independence Act, HB/SB 76? Groups from around the state are converging there that day. We intend to visit our legislators in their offices as they begin the fall legislative session. We know sending them a postcard gets their attention, LET'S KNOCK ON THEIR DOORS and deliver the message first hand.
We are trying to find out how many people would be interested if a bus was chartered. The estimated price per person is $25 - it can vary depending on how many people we get on the bus. If you would like to find out more about what we will be doing in Harrisburg the Fill-a-Bus website is the place to go to.

If you are interested in this and want to reserve a seat on the bus send an email to:
Include your name and the number of people going. You will be put on the list and as the plans/price are firmed up you will be contacted about times, pick-up spot, and payment. Please don't delay we need to know the level of interest and once the bus is filled up, it's filled up!
(Note: Technically the phrasing at the top of the graphic is incorrect - taxing your home does not end once the value of the house is exceeded. It's not "until", it's forever and your home is never "paid off".)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Help end the school property tax now

The short presentation (9 minutes)

NOW is the time to contact your state representative and senator.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly – Find Your Legislator

The thorough presentation from the nonpartisan Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations (40 minutes) 


 From the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition:
There is no “Holy Grail” of property tax reform. Any property tax reform measure will involve shifting the tax levy from one type of tax to another – there’s no free ride. But there are ways to fund our schools and to ensure a better education for our children that are fairer and more effective than property taxes.
Many Pennsylvanians lose their homes and a lifetime’s work to sheriff’s sales each year because they can no longer afford to pay their property taxes. Senior citizens on fixed incomes are increasingly forced to sell their homes because of unrelenting increases in their tax burden. Young families cannot afford to purchase a home because the per-month property tax escrow is simply too high. Multi-generational family farms are being sold piece by piece to pay property taxes, devastating Pennsylvania agriculture. School districts in areas of the state with limited population and no commercial tax base are in distress and are unable to afford to give their children a quality education. Job losses, out migration, and abysmal state economic performance caused by burdensome property taxes are devastating Pennsylvania’s economy.
To read more click here:
NOW is the time to contact your state representative and senator.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly – Find Your Legislator
More on this in the newspapers (this list is updated as more articles appear):
Reading Eagle  …the school tax is based on the antiquated notion that a person who owns property has lots of money.
Lebanon Daily News …  ”an engaged and outraged public may be the only power capable of forcing a majority of lawmakers to do what is right.”
Shippensburg News-Chronicle …HB76, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Cox (R-129), has 62 co-sponsors, both Republican and Democrat.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

If we don’t do it who will?

“If we don’t do it who will?” is often the appeal to get someone motivated, to get something done. But look around you and really answer the question. Who will? Sometimes I think there's nobody out there.

Take the “Chick-fil-a” incident last week. Maybe a strange place for me to make my point, after all didn't thousands take the time to make a statement in favor of the first amendment by dining there? Sure they did, and good for them and good for you if you did. But now what?

What precipitated this reaction was the statements of mayors and councilmen in major cities around the country that wanted to condemn and possibly deny Chick-fil-a restaurants in their municipalities. All because the president of the company expressed a belief in what he called biblical marriage.

So we all had our moment of solidarity and ate chicken. And maybe we'll eat more chicken, more often. But has the problem been addressed? This is a problem more grave than what a person chooses to believe and support or even the audacity of the politician's reactions. Where is the outrage? Where is the condemnation?

What's the problem?

The problem is that too many just don't see a problem. That is, politicians thinking it's their job to bully and threaten a business because they disagree with an executive's philosophy or religion. Other politicians not taking a stand by condemning such bullying as acting stupidly by being in opposition to the 1st amendment. And the worst crime, the apathy of the voters who put these bullies in office. Yet even worse, the one's that cheer them on. So, when they come up for reelection, will the Chick-fil-a incident be a plus or minus for them? That we can't even answer that question is an indictment of our times.

Is there anybody out there? Hello?

Mucking around in moral questions

We don't like mucking around in other people's business. The tea party tends to rally around the issues of freedom and the pocketbook, “Taxed Enough Already”, and not in what is generally called “social conservatism”. But it takes a moral people to respect and protect another person's freedom and wallet. The golden rule is where these things intersect.

This is not about the government's definition of marriage. This is about elected government officials grasping for power that does not belong to them. While Chick-fil-a appreciation day was going on the Health and Human Resources insurance mandate went into effect. All insurance plans must cover abortion inducing drugs, regardless of the religious or moral convictions of the employer who pays for it or the person being covered. The freedom of conscious of the people is now subject to the dictates of the state. Abortifacients may not be an issue with which you have a concern, but the freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment should be. Remember the golden rule...

Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching

We want our politicians to do the right thing, that's why we put them in office. But if every vote they make is available for public record and yet they are unafraid to go against the constitution, the wishes of the electorate, or common sense... we have failed. They have shown a willingness to do the wrong thing, even when everyone could be watching. What can we do?

We can show up. Someone once said that most of life is showing up. We can shine light on the actions of these politicians. But what if they don't care, like the municipal bullies? Then it's our job to make them care by making sure the voters understand why the issues matter and how their representatives vote.

We want our officials to have integrity, but even the best can use a person looking over their shoulder and giving them encouragement. If we have people that have no apparent integrity then we have to cause them to at least act like they do. Our job is to educate both the politician and the voter on the issues.

Should a Tax Have the Power to Leave You Homeless?

On the LVTP website you will see an effort to fill a bus for a trip to Harrisburg. One of our members looked around and realized, “If we don't do it, who will?”. So she is organizing this trip. The principle is simple – Should a tax have the power to leave you homeless? Change doesn't happen by itself and legislators in Harrisburg are no different than most people, resistant to change. They need our encouragement and they need to put this to a vote so the voters will know where they stand on the issue.