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IMPORTANT! The short and long term impacts of enacting The Property Tax Independence Act. Click here.

A great piece from G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young. RIP: The School Property Tax! Click here.

We need property tax reform now! Speakers cheer on House, Senate bills 76. Click here.

Your home's equity is being stolen! How property taxes are reducing your home's value. Click here.

The brutality of tax eviction! A deputy sheriff speaks out. Click here.

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Personal Property Tax Independence Act Tax Calculator
Excel calculator to see your tax savings under the provisions ofThe Property Tax Independence Act. Now includes calculations for Philadelphia property tax reduction!

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Why school property taxes need to be eliminated!
Two excellent essays on the fallacy of property taxes for education funding.


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PTCC Update

11 October 2013


There have been no Updates for the past few months because the General Assembly has been in recess and there has been little to report. However, at midday on Friday, September 20, the last business day before the return to session on September 23, things suddenly exploded. Events have unfolded so quickly since then that there just has not been time to keep current.

Here’s the timeline of events:

Friday, 20 September – Rep. Kerry Benninghoff announces a House Finance Committee meeting for early Monday for the purpose of voting on four property tax bills that are in his committee. HB 76, the Property Tax Independence Act, is NOT included.

Monday, 23 Sep, 11:00 AM – Finance Committee meets and votes all four bills from committee.

Monday, 23 Sep, 1:05 PM – All four bills are given first consideration on the House floor.

Consider the timeline. As of Thursday the General Assembly has been out of session for 2-1/2 months and very few people are paying attention to what is happening in Harrisburg. On Friday at midday, too late for voter notice, reaction, or contact with their legislators and while everyone is still asleep at the switch, Chairman Benninghoff announces a voting Finance Committee meeting for 11:00 AM Monday.

On Monday the Finance Committee meets to vote on the bills relatively early in the day, even before the caucuses have time to meet to discuss this development or lawmakers have time to confer or ask questions.

Less than one and one-half hours later the bills are on the House floor for first consideration.

Fast forward to September 30. By the beginning of this week it was obvious that the House GOP leadership was not under any circumstances going to allow HB 76 out of the Finance Committee for a vote on the House floor.

On Tuesday morning, October 1, the day that HB 1189, the fraudulent Seth Grove optional local property tax shift legislation was scheduled to be voted on second consideration, Representative Cox and several of his fellow legislators decided that the only way to get HB 76 to the House floor for a vote was to attach the HB 76 language to HB 1189 as an amendment.

An apparently heated discussion broke out in the House GOP caucus that was so intense that it caused a two hour delay in the start of the House session on Tuesday. It is my understanding that majority leader Mike Turzai threatened some members to force their vote against the HB 76 amendment.

After three hours of floor debate in which Turzai’s flunkies attempted to trash the bill, the amendment was defeated 138-59. I’ll give credit, though, to some of the proponents of HB 76 for their impassioned statements in defense of the legislation. They were absolutely excellent and they deserve our thanks for their integrity. The tally of the members’ votes is here.

On October 2, HB 1189 was voted for final passage and was sent to the Senate.

So let’s review what happened in less than two weeks.

Early on Monday, September 23 – the first day of the new session – HB 1189 was shoved out of committee in less than a half-hour and was on the House floor for first consideration ninety minutes later. It passed second consideration on October 1 after the HB 76 amendment was defeated and had final passage and was sent to the Senate on October 2.

HB 1189 was never subjected to any hearings, was never analyzed for effectiveness or financial viability by any of the Capitol groups charged with this task, was pushed through committee without discussion and was rammed through the House with NO floor debate whatsoever. The bill was never vetted in any way, despite protests from taxpayer and business groups from across the state.

HB 1189 is a completely ineffective, worthless bill that was designed for the purpose of killing HB 76 and giving the politicians the ability to brag that they gave us property tax “relief” while, in the process, giving us absolutely NOTHING. For more information on the HB 1189 travesty, see the analysis here.

Does any of this sound familiar? This scheme is almost identical to the way the 2005 midnight pay raise unfolded. Catch the voters unaware, quickly fly the entire procedure under the radar when no one is looking, and move the bills without a chance for comment by taxpayers or more principled lawmakers.

You would think that the pay raise debacle and the resulting fallout would have taught these politicians a lesson but, no, they did the same thing as they did in 2005 in an attempt to deceive us and shut us and our opinions out of the process. There is no doubt in my mind that this entire exercise was engineered by the GOP House leadership under the direction of Majority Leader Mike Turzai in an attempt to kill HB 76.

This is midnight pay raise round two. It doesn't get any sleazier than this and we will not forget!

The bottom line is this: The defeat of the HB 76 amendment is not the end. Only the amendment was defeated and the base HB 76 legislation is still alive in the House Finance Committee, although it is unlikely that that leader Turzai or committee chair Benninghoff will allow it from committee without a fight.

The legislation is still very much alive in the Senate Finance Committee as SB 76, has 24 co-sponsors (26 is the majority of the Senate) and has garnered much interest among the members. This is our most likely avenue to success. Please contact current Senate co -sponsors to thank them for their support and contact non-co-sponsors to encourage them to support SB 76. The dynamic in the Senate is far different than that in the House, so PLEASE be courteous and non-threatening in your contacts so you do not make enemies. The list of current co-sponsors is here. You can find your Senator by Zip Code from the link on the left side of any PTCC page.

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On October 1 the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released its updated analysis of HB/SB 76, the Property Tax Independence Act.

Since the release of that report, opponents of HB/SB 76 have been claiming that the legislation causes a shortfall in education spending that will irreparably harm Pennsylvania schools. Nothing could be further from the truth and these opponents from both inside and outside of the General Assembly have been misrepresenting the analysis in an attempt to discredit the Property Tax Independence Act. HB/SB 76 absolutely fully funds the schools at their current level; the bill provides revenue that comes within .0003% of the total needed. In other words, the bill is right on the nose. The truth of the IFO analysis is here. Please read it and send it to any lawmaker who uses the excuse that the "numbers don't work."

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The Property Tax Independence Act Fill-A-Bus event on September 24 was a HUGE success, with hundreds of citizen lobbyists roaming the Capitol and visiting lawmakers’ offices to encourage them to support the Property Tax Independence Act. It was so successful, in fact, that one Senator committed to co-sponsoring SB 76, the Senate version of the legislation, while citizen lobbyists were in his office!

The day culminated with a rousing rally for property tax independence on the Capitol steps that had many supporting lawmakers in attendance showing and voicing their support for the Property Tax Independence Act. You can watch a video replay of the rally here.

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Here’s a final reminder: Please join us on the PTCC Facebook page for the latest news and information about the Property Tax Independence Act. The page now has almost 2,200 members and there’s always a lively discussion. You can also “Like” the new “Heroes for Homeowners” Facebook page where we gratefully recognize those lawmakers who have gone above and beyond in their support of the Property Tax Independence Act. And you can follow the PTCC on Twitter at @pataxpayers.

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That’s all for now. Thank you, everyone, for your help and concern. We need everyone’s support to win this battle, so remember: Keep going, keep our ranks growing, and NEVER give up!

Please forward this email to everyone on your Pennsylvania email list.

David Baldinger
PTCC Administrator


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