Monday, July 21, 2008

Repost: Some Questions and Ideas for Representative Moul

We think Dan Moul has been a great state Representative in the General Assembly. We have made the point in the past that he has already introduced more legislation in about 18 months than his predecessor did in 14 years.

But we are disturbed by the language in two areas of legislation that affect the entire state, and we would like Representative Moul to take up these issues in Harrisburg.

First, we think the state property tax law should be changed to remove any escape by a school district from a referendum on any tax increases. It should be obvious in this current climate that school districts across the state are avoiding referenda at all costs. Gettysburg Area School District is a case in point. If the district wants to raise taxes without a referendum all they need to do is run their budget up over a certain index [we presume that the "index" is a percentage increase], and then ask the state for a waiver of the referendum requirement!

The effect of this law has foist runaway spending on many taxpayers without leaving them any redress! Indeed, many districts are getting a jump start on future tax increases by enlarging their tax base so the "index" has more money in it every succeeding year. This builds in tax increases that pyramid every year!

As a result, many state tax payers will not see one penny of their tax rebate.

And that raises another issue: how can a tax rebate from 2007 taxes be used to pay taxes in 2008? This is simply wrong. And the legislature needs to correct this, and soon! There simply is no property tax relief in the legislation as it is written now.

The other issue is the potential legislation that would ban layoffs of state employees if the budget is not passed by 30 June. One alternative to this farce is to dock the pay of the legislators every day past June 30th each year without a passed and signed state budget.

We like the second part of that, as it is the responsibility, in part, of the legislature to pass the budget in a timely fashion each year. However, there is a missing party to all of this, and that is the Governor and his staff.

We believe that the fair and honest solution to this, is to dock the pay of both the legislators and the Governor and his staff, while making it illegal to furlough state employees if the budget is not passed. [The state employees have nothing to do with the budget process, and furloughing them punishes them, and their families, and the citizens of the Commonwealth who seek their services.]

So, Representaive Moul, what is your take on these issues and ideas? We'd love to get a response from you, and will post it here if and when we do.


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