Tuesday, June 24, 2008

School Tax Rebate? Forget it!

People throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who pay school real estate taxes are just now about to get the bad news. You will NOT be getting a tax rebate from the gambling monies collected by the Commonwealth. Not directly.

The money goes to the school districts directly. As a result, if your school district is raising taxes, you might see a smaller tax bill [reduced by the rebate], or you might see a smaller increase than what the school district is raising [also reduced by the tax rebate]. Either way, your tax bill will appear to either go down, or have only a small increase. But you will not see your property tax rebate check.

In Gettysburg, it is the latter. Gettysburg Area School District [GASD] is committing highway robbery based on a mistakenly assumed mandate by the voters. The tax increase of nearly 5% [1.98 mills] is not only exorbitant, but is also going to have money diverted for the new $8 million Professional Level Football stadium supposedly to be built behind the school on some wetlands.

GASD School Board, who approved the increase last night at their meeting, seem to feel that a bunch of them who were elected last election were elected because they favored changing the income plan for the stadium from direct contributions to tax money -- your tax money. Never mind that people were still in a "vote the incumbents out" mode.

We conducted a small poll of readers recently giving three options:

  • Modify the current Warrior Stadium --- 50%
  • Make no changes other than routine --- 50%
  • Construct a new $8 million stadium --- 0%

We are going to reactivate the poll. We hope you will participate in it if you have not already done so.

The original plan was to have the stadium built at a cost of $3 million. We think folks could stomach that if the stadium would be built on ground that is not a wetland, or near a wetland. People think that perhaps rebuilding current Warrior Stadium to add locker room and storage, public bathrooms, and concession stands underneath the grandstands is the way to go. Cheaper, the field is already there, and for the year or so it would take to do it the team could play at the Gettysburg College stadium. They play Friday nights, the college plays Saturdays.

Regardless, the new kids on the school board are completely mistaken about their supposed mandate. There was no mandate. There was no public debate on the stadium. There was no advertising campaign saying "vote for these five people and they will get the new stadium for you."

Folks, gas is $4 per gallon. Township and county taxes are going up. School taxes are rising on 5.2% pay increases for teachers [and the much higher paid administrators!] as well as the new stadium.

We do not need an $8 million dollar stadium now. It is a pipe dream by a bunch of yuppies who think because they have enough money, the rest of us can spare $8 million in school taxes over the next few years. This is the same group of folks who sat by with their pockets covered while their local country club went bankrupt and folded.

Hello? Anybody home on the school board? We don't have that kind of money. And give us our tax rebate! Let us decide what to do with it. Besides, if you pay your taxes as part of your mortgage, then this year's increase in your mortgage payment will be only $90 per month instead of $105.

We hope you are angry now dear readers. Please participate in our polls at the top right of the page.

And please start expressing yourself in letters to the editor of the Gettysburg Times and the Hanover Sun. Let your outrage show.

GettysBLOG

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2 comments:

dspitz17325 said...

I guess this just goes to show all you No Casino people , you brought this on yourselves the casino would have lowered your taxes .

GettysBLOG said...

Actually, no. In the first place, casino money is coming to all property owners in Pennsylvania. It just isn't enough to mean anything when the school district raises the taxes even more than the size of the rebate.

Secondly, local casino money goes to different loacal municipalities, not to the schools. We would be in the same boat even if LeVan had profaned the area with his monstrosity.

The casino decision was denied in part by the local opposition to it, and in part because LeVan's people were dishonest or disingneuous in their financial model, and in part because they wanted to see a casino at Nemacolin.

Proof of faults in the entire casino system can be seen in the problems encountered with Louis DeNaples at Mt. Airy, the Pittsburgh casino that will file financially before one shovel of dirt is turned, and up in the Erie area where the investigations are just beginning. Two casinos in Philadelphia have not turned a spadeful of dirt, either because of an ongoing turf war with the city. Indeed, the city tried to get their licenses deleted so the city would not have a casino.

Additionally, the fathers of the casino law, Messers DeWeese, Veon, Brightbill, Perzel and Fumo are all either under indictment, or under investigation for something, and two were kicked out of office and two have been stripped of their leadership power. Eventually, the Governor will be added to that list.

The lesson to be learned here is to be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Finally, you need to let go of the casino fight. You lost, the area won. No except a few vocal pro-casino folks believed your argument then, and the same remains true now. Let it go, the area is headed to ruin anyway.

GettysBLOG