Thursday, July 24, 2008

School property tax elimination: What else needs to happen?

By State Rep. Sam Rohrer

When I began the fight for school property tax elimination, school taxes were a crushing burden on homeowners. Property taxes were the single biggest cost imposed on many of Pennsylvania's residents. Today, not only has the property tax burden continued to mount, we have seen an increase in many of the costs of day-to-day living. Now we must factor into our budgets increased gas prices; increased milk, bread, and egg prices; and increased energy prices. These items only add to an increasingly heavy load.

What else needs to happen before the governor and the Legislature take notice of the plight of millions of Pennsylvanians and do something to alleviate it? Gov. Rendell's Act 1, touted as a significant reprieve, has dismally fallen short of its promises.

The gambling money has barely covered the increase of property taxes from this past year, and in many places failed to meet even the projected 10 percent promise.

Chuck Ardo, Gov. Rendell's spokesperson, responded to our June "Save Our Homes" rally by saying that because of gaming revenues, "It's unlikely that seniors across the Commonwealth are bearing an undue burden." My response is, "Unlikely? You’ve got to be kidding." The hundreds of letters, e-mails, and phone calls, as well as the recent front-page news stories about seniors losing their homes, seriously belie Mr. Ardo's statement.

With a governor that chooses not to understand this pressing problem, what else needs to happen before we take action?

What else needs to happen before we face the financial hardship that is causing citizens to lose their homes-homes that these good people have lived in for 30, 40, even 50 years? Giving housing subsidies just raises different taxes for citizens. Gambling money has already failed to fulfill expectations. Granting more money to schools without spending reform leaves them hungry for even more. I ask again, what else needs to happen before we take action?

What else needs to happen before legislators in both the House and the Senate take decisive action on property tax elimination? "Reform" simply does not satisfy the citizens who are seeing increased millage on their tax forms but seeing no increase in their checking accounts from Act 1. Eliminating property taxes is the only real way to relieve citizens of this burden. What else needs to happen before we take action?

Unfortunately, the actions of the Legislature and the governor seem to say that more pain, more difficulty, and more foreclosures are needed before they finally respond to the gravity of this situation.

I believe that we must take proactive action. When I began this fight, it was an effort to address a known problem, and I knew that it would get worse. And instead of just talking about school, property tax reform, I posed a solution to bring about 100 percent elimination. How many fewer foreclosures would have taken place in these past five years? How many fewer sheriff sales; how much more peace of mind?

We cannot, however, dwell on what has happened before. Today, we need to resolve not to let another five years of foreclosures and sheriff sales happen as a result of inaction. The Legislature has too many people who seem only to react when a problem gets "bad enough." We, however, cannot be content to wait until that indeterminate day arrives. We must act now, and so I ask again - what else needs to happen?

Nothing else that is satisfactory can happen except action. As legislators, we are charged with protecting the rights of every citizen in Pennsylvania. We are to serve you, and make laws that are in your best interests. By ignoring this issue that reaches across the state, in rural and urban areas, the legislators and governor are failing you if they do not act.

House Bill 1275, the School Property Tax Elimination Act, is that answer.

House Bill 1275 would eliminate school property taxes with a constitutional amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would guarantee an abolition of property taxes (House Bill 2199). House Bill 1275 would then freeze and phase out property taxes in a workable, realistic, and effective manner. It would sufficiently provide alternative funds to maintain Pennsylvania's schools and education system.

If you are also not content to wait, please go to www.ptcc.us, to access the grassroots organization Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition’s (PTCC) website against property tax. The PTCC is collecting stories of homeowners, and is also hoping to begin taping live interviews. You can also download and distribute petitions in support of House Bill 1275.

Finally, to further ensure final passage of the constitutional amendment, encourage your family and friends to call their legislators in both the House and the Senate and ask them-what else needs to happen before you take action and pass House Bill 1275 and House Bill 2199?

State Rep. Samuel Rohrer is a Republican who represents the 128th House District in Berks County.

RNC: Ich Bin Ein Hypocrite

RNC: Ich Bin Ein Hypocrite

Blunt: Democrats Ready to 'Pack It Up and Go Home' on Energy, as Republicans Offer Real Plan to Lower Price of Gas

Blunt: Democrats Ready to 'Pack It Up and Go Home' on Energy, as Republicans Offer Real Plan to Lower Price of Gas

Blunt: Republican Health Care Agenda Focuses on Patients, Not Bureaucrats

Blunt: Republican Health Care Agenda Focuses on Patients, Not Bureaucrats

RNC: Obama's Campaign Planning Presidential Transition

RNC: Obama's Campaign Planning Presidential Transition

Republican National Committee: Why Can't Obama Admit the Obvious? The Surge Worked From USA Today

Republican National Committee: Why Can't Obama Admit the Obvious? The Surge Worked From USA Today

RNC Launches New Radio Ad in Paris, USA: 'Obama Chooses Washington Over Our Military'

RNC Launches New Radio Ad in Paris, USA: 'Obama Chooses Washington Over Our Military'

Blunt: American Energy Act Offers Genuine Plan to Reduce Prices at the Pump

Blunt: American Energy Act Offers Genuine Plan to Reduce Prices at the Pump

Citizen Petition says 'No Recess for Congress' Until Ban on Offshore Drilling is Lifted

Citizen Petition says 'No Recess for Congress' Until Ban on Offshore Drilling is Lifted

RNC: Obama's Jerusalem Divide

RNC: Obama's Jerusalem Divide

RightyBlogs in Pennsylvania

Visit the Widget Gallery

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Check out these posts at other blogs

The Clarke Report says Rep. Tim Holden and his Democratic Party cronies are working on a plan to raise the national gas tax ... as if gas wasn't high enough at $4 a gallon. There's also a good post about how openly The New York Times is rooting for Barack Obama.

GUNSERVATIVELY! has a link to a Michelle Malkin column about the Murtha race in western Pennsylvania, where challenger William Russell is going after the Democratic Party's King of Pork. There's also a hysterical illustration of Barack Obama in a tank.

Penn Patriot's Blog says Tom Ridge is still in the running for McCain's VP slot.

NEPALibWatch takes a jab at liberals who have no idea what's going on in Iraq. Are you listening Barack Obama?

TONY PHYRILLAS exposes liberal media bias and wonders why Barack Obama painted over the American flag on his airplane and replaced it with the Obama logo.

POLICY BLOG examines how the left and right differ on reform measures in Pennsylvania.

RNC: Playing to the Crowd

RNC: Playing to the Crowd

One Nation Under Obama

A cult of personality? This isn't South Korea or Venezuela, but the United States is turning into an Obama-nation?

The Washington Examiner reports that the Barack Obama campaign had the U.S. flag painted over with an Obama logo on the plane Sen. Obama is using to travel to the Middle East and Europe.

Wasn't this the same guy who was ashamed to wear the flag lapel pin? I guess he didn't want anyone to know he was representing America on his overseas trip.

This is either a new height in personal vanity or another sign that Obama hates this country.

Follow the link below to read the story in the Washington Examiner.

RNC: Obama Replaces American Flag With Obama Logo

RNC Launches New Radio Ad: 'Obama Chooses Washington Over Our Military'

RNC Launches New Radio Ad: 'Obama Chooses Washington Over Our Military'

Blunt: Democrats Push Flawed Housing Legislation, Block Republican Attempts to Protect Taxpayers

Blunt: Democrats Push Flawed Housing Legislation, Block Republican Attempts to Protect Taxpayers

RNC: The Iraq We'd Have If We'd Heeded Obama

RNC: The Iraq We'd Have If We'd Heeded Obama

RNC: They Said It! U.S. Editor Of The Daily Telegraph [UK] On Obama

RNC: They Said It! U.S. Editor Of The Daily Telegraph [UK] On Obama

Republican National Committee: Obama's Rogue Anniversary - Obama Spends a Year Shifting His Position On Meeting With Rogue Leaders His First Year in Office

Republican National Committee: Obama's Rogue Anniversary - Obama Spends a Year Shifting His Position On Meeting With Rogue Leaders His First Year in Office

Study: Lawmakers' Bill-Writing Habits Stall Drive for Budget Discipline

Study: Lawmakers' Bill-Writing Habits Stall Drive for Budget Discipline

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

RNC: Obama's Leadership Failure II

RNC: Obama's Leadership Failure II

RNC: Obama's Leadership Failure II

RNC: Obama's Leadership Failure II

RNC: White House Rules On Air Obama?

RNC: White House Rules On Air Obama?

RNC - Obama: Wrong On Israel

RNC - Obama: Wrong On Israel

PA Auditor General Jack Wagner Recommends Use of GPS Technology to Keep Track of Registered Sex Offenders

PA Auditor General Jack Wagner Recommends Use of GPS Technology to Keep Track of Registered Sex Offenders

Agenda for Berks Tax Forum

Berks County in conjunction with Penn State Cooperative Extension will be hosting a Berks County Tax Forum on Monday, July 28th at 7:00 PM. The event will be held at the Berks County Ag Center, 1238 County Road, Leesport.

This Local Tax Forum is not advocating any specific tax reform proposal, but is intended to create civil local dialogue and discussion about local tax fairness, and to increase public awareness of local tax issues, says Berks County Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach said.

Participants will be encouraged to share their thoughts and concerns, and similarly to listen thoughtfully to others’ comments, Leinbach says.

At the end of the Forum, participants will be encouraged to share their individual perspectives with legislators and others, Leinbach says.

FORUM AGENDA

How do Pennsylvania Local Taxes Measure Up?

Overview of which taxes are available and used by local jurisdictions

Taxation From a Local Official Perspective (Panel Discussion)
Christian Leinbach, Berks County Commissioner
Ken Grimes, Upper Tulpehocken Township Supervisor
Don Raifsnider, Muhlenberg Township School Board

Small Group Discussion and Report Out
Participants discuss tax fairness and what they think needs to be done to reform local taxation in Pennsylvania

Your Next Steps?
What are your options – how to contact your local legislators, local officials, and others with your concerns

For more information, call 610-478-6136 Ext. 6127

PACleanSweep Call to Action

Pick Up the Phone for a Convention!

Now that PACleanSweep's recommended language to enable a constitutional convention has been introduced in both the Senate and House, it's time to get on the phone and start pressuring members of the two State Government Committees to move this bill along.

Below, you'll find a phone list of all the members of these committees, the leadership of both chambers and the Governor. Without input from citizens, these people will not act. The most effective citizen input is via live phone calls.

It is highly recommended that you call ALL elected officials listed in bold, because in their committee or leadership roles they are acting on behalf of all Pennsylvanians. If your own Senator or Representative is a member of the committee, place a call to them as well.

When you call these folks, simply urge them to support SB1290 (for Senators) or HB2714 (for Representatives) and ask what they will do to move it along, get it out of committee and on the floor for a vote. Be courteous!

Then call again in a week or so to follow up on what they've done. Keep calling until we get some results!

Each legislator's Harrisburg office number is listed first and the subsequent phone numbers will put you in touch with their district offices.

In the Senate (SB1290)

Senate State Government Committee

Sen. Jeffrey E. Piccola, Chair (co-sponsor)
(717) 787-6801
(717) 896- 7714

Sen. Mike Folmer, Vice Chair (prime sponsor)
(717) 787-5708
(717) 274-7705
(610) 693-3200
(717) 361-8623

Sen. Anthony H. Williams, Minority Chair
(717) 787-5970
(215) 492-2980

Sen. Michael W. Brubaker
(717) 787-4420
(717) 627-0036

Sen. Jake Corman
(717) 787-1377
(814) 355- 0477

Sen. Wayne D. Fontana
(717) 787-5300
(412) 344-2551

Sen. Vincent J. Hughes
(717) 787-7112
(215) 471-0490

Sen. Charles T. McIlhinney, Jr.
(717) 787- 7305
(215) 489-5000

Sen. Terry L. Punt
(717) 787-4651
(717) 264- 6100

Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione
(717) 787-1141
(215) 533-0440

Senate Leadership

Sen. Joseph B. Scarnati, III, Senate Pro Tempore
(717) 787-7084
(814) 726- 7201

Sen. Dominic Pileggi, Senate Majority (Republican) Leader
(717) 787-4712
(610) 565-9100

Sen. Robert J. Mellow, Senate Minority (Democrat) Leader
(717) 787-6481
(570) 489-0336
Click here to track SB1290

In the House (HB2714)

House State Government Committee

Rep. Babette Josephs, Majority Chairman
(717) 787-8529
(215) 893-1515

Rep. Thomas W. Blackwell, Majority Vice Chairman
(717) 783-1491
(215) 748- 7808
(215) 978-2595

Rep. Jaret Gibbons, Majority Secretary
(717) 705- 2060
(724) 752-1133
(724) 794-1215
(724) 773-7499

Rep. Matthew E. Baker, Minority Chairman
(717) 772-5371
(717) 772-5371

Rep. Carl W. Mantz, Minority Secretary
(717) 787- 3017
(610) 366-2330

Rep. Kerry A. Benninghoff
(717) 783-1918
(814) 355-1300

Rep. Mike Carroll
(717) 787-3589
(610) 681- 2940
(570) 655-4883

Rep. Paul I. Clymer
(717) 783-3154
(215) 257-0279

Rep. Tom C. Creighton
(717) 772-5290
(717) 336-2199
(717) 664-4979

Rep. Mark B. Cohen
(717) 787-4117
(215) 924-0895

Rep. Lawrence H. Curry
(717) 783-1079
(215) 572-5210

Rep. Florindo J. Fabrizio
(717) 787-4358
(814) 455-6319

Rep. Robert Freeman
(717) 783-3815
(610) 253-5543

Rep. Mauree Gingrich
(717) 783-1815
(717) 270-1905

Rep. Glen R. Grell
(717) 783-2063
(717) 795- 6091

Rep. William C. Kortz, II (co-sponsor)
(717) 787-8175
(412) 466-1940
(412) 886- 2870

Rep. Deberah Kula
(717) 772-1858
(724) 547-4057
(724) 626-2761

Rep. Jim Marshall
(717) 260-6432
(724) 847- 1352

Rep. Fred McIlhattan
(717) 772-9908
(814) 226-9000

Rep. Michael H. O'Brien
(717) 783-8098
(215) 503-3245

Rep. Frank Louis Oliver
(717) 787-3480
(215) 684-3738

Rep. Cherelle L. Parker
(717) 783-2178
(215) 242-7300

Rep. Thomas J. Quigley
(717) 772-9963
(610) 326-9563

Rep. Sean M. Ramaley
(717) 787-4444
(724) 266-7774
(412) 761-1701

Rep. Kathy L. Rapp
(717) 787-1367
(814) 723-5203

Rep. Mike Vereb
(717) 705-7164
(610) 409- 2615

Rep. Greg Vitali
(717) 787-7647
(610) 789- 3900

Rep. Katharine M. Watson
(717) 787-5452
(215) 674-0500

Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood
(717) 787-7727
(215) 849-6426

House Leadership

Rep. Dennis M. O'Brien, Speaker of the House
(717) 787-5689
(215) 632- 5150

Rep. H. William DeWeese, House Majority (Democrat) Leader
(717) 783-3797
(724) 627-8683

Rep. Samuel H. Smith, House Minority (Republican) Leader
(717) 787-3845
(814) 938-4225
Click here to track HB2714

Call the Governor, too!

Edward Rendell, Governor
(717) 787-2500

RNC: Obama to Face Skepticism During Mideast Trip

RNC: Obama to Face Skepticism During Mideast Trip

RNC: Senior Obama Foreign Policy Adviser: Obama is President of the United States

RNC: Senior Obama Foreign Policy Adviser: Obama is President of the United States

Republican National Committee: Obama's Leadership Failure

Republican National Committee: Obama's Leadership Failure

Monday, July 21, 2008

Who's watching your children?

The launch of Google's new "Street View" service has raised all sorts of privacy concerns.

A new group is also raising the alarm that the new technology could be used by child predators.

It's scary stuff.

Follow the link below for more information from www.stopinternetpredators.org

New Campaign Raises Child Safety Concerns Over Google's 'Street View'

Republican National Committee: They Said It!

Republican National Committee: They Said It!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blunt: Dems' Latest 'Energy' Bill Long on Promises, Short on Actual Energy (and Votes)

Blunt: Dems' Latest 'Energy' Bill Long on Promises, Short on Actual Energy (and Votes)

Berks schedules tax forum for July 28

Berks County, the epicenter of the property tax elimination movement, is planning a public forum to discuss tax reform.

"There have been few opportunities for the public to learn about and civilly discuss taxation, tax fairness, and tax reform in Pennsylvania," according to a message posted on the county Web site.

The forum will take place on July 28 at Berks Ag Center in Bern Township, just north of Reading.

Topics include an overview of which taxes are available to local jurisdictions, as well as taxation from elected officials' perspectives.

Scheduled to attend are Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach; Ken Grimes, an Upper Tulpehocken Township supervisor; and Don Raifsnider, a Muhlenberg School District board member.

Leinbach said all residents who come to the forum will be divided into roundtable groups, each consisting of five to seven taxpayers and a facilitator.

"We'll give every single person the chance to go on the record," Leinbach told The Mercury.

That information will be shared with Berks County and Penn State’s Cooperative Extension service, which encourages active participation in community decisions by all Pennsylvanians, according to Leinbach.

"This is not a forum where we're standing up and opposing or supporting legislation," Leinbach told the newspaper. "This is a great feedback opportunity."

Residents interested in attending are encouraged to register by calling 610-328-1327, or BerksExt@psu.edu.

The forum runs from 7 to 9:15 p.m., Monday, July 28.

Tony Phyrillas on the radio today

A new weekly radio program offering an inside look at politics debuts Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM in Pottstown.

Hosted by Tony Phyrillas and Mike Pincus, "Talking Politics" will feature an hour-long discussion of the political process and how politics impacts on your daily life.

Local, county, state and national issues will be discussed.

Phyrillas is an award-winning political columnist for The Mercury. Pincus is a political strategist and consultant based in West Chester.

Listeners are encouraged to call 610-326-4000 with comments or questions during the show.

You can also listen to the program online by going to www.1370WPAZ.com and clicking on the "live audio" button at the top of the page or you can listen to it at The Mercury Web site at www.pottsmerc.com

Berks Native Featured In Playboy


I've been to Mohnton, Pa., lots of times but I've never seen anyone remotely as good looking as Kayla Collins strolling around town.

Kayla "Dollface" Collins, who grew up in sleepy Mohnton (population 3,000) just west of Reading and attended Twin Valley High School, is Playboy's Playmate of the Month for August 2008.

Kayla Collins has a Web site, http://officialkaylacollins.com/

Kayla Collins has appeared on The Girls Next Door on E!

Kayla Collins' "talents" were discovered on her MySpace site, according to an interview posted at YouTube.

Now that Playboy has hit the streets, 21-year-old Kayla is off to the West Coast to pursue a modeling/acting career.

Did anyone who graduated from Twin Valley High School in 2005 have an inkling that Kayla would be in Playboy within 3 years?

New Website Offers Information on Government Transparency

New Website Offers Information on Government Transparency

Blunt: BLM Decision on NPR-A Good News for Americans, Bad News for Democrats Who Tried to Block Leases in '07

Blunt: BLM Decision on NPR-A Good News for Americans, Bad News for Democrats Who Tried to Block Leases in '07

Bill to Provide Relief from High Gas Prices Introduced in House

Bill to Provide Relief from High Gas Prices Introduced in House

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tony Phyrillas to host radio show

A new weekly radio program offering an inside look at politics debuts Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM in Pottstown.

Hosted by Tony Phyrillas and Mike Pincus, "Talking Politics" will feature an hour-long discussion of the political process and how politics impacts on your daily life.

Local, county, state and national issues will be discussed.

Phyrillas is an award-winning political columnist for The Mercury. Pincus is a political strategist and consultant based in West Chester.

Listeners are encouraged to call 610-326-4000 with comments or questions during the show.

You can also listen to the program online by going to www.1370WPAZ.com and clicking on the "live audio" button at the top of the page.

Republican National Committee: They Said It Flashback! Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) on Barack Obama Not Having a Plan for Iraq

Republican National Committee: They Said It Flashback! Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) on Barack Obama Not Having a Plan for Iraq

Phyrillas top ranked blogger in Pennsylvania

Here's this week's TOP 10 list of influential political blogs as ranked by BlogNetNews.com (with conservative blogs highlighted.) Note that 7 of the 10 top-ranked blogs are conservative.

For the full Top 20 list go to www.blognetnews.com

Pennsylvania's Most Influential Political blogs
Rank Blog Prev
1 TONY PHYRILLAS 1
2 Suburban Guerrilla 19
3 Philebrity 6
4 POLICY BLOG 5
5 NEPALibWatch 7
6 Pawatercooler.com 4
7 GrassrootsPA 16
8 2 Political Junkies -
9 THE CENTRIST 20
10 PowerBlog! 12

RNC: Obama: Man Without A Plan

RNC: Obama: Man Without A Plan

Republican National Committee: Obama's Afghan Audacity

Republican National Committee: Obama's Afghan Audacity

Republican National Committee: Obama Will Tax & Spend Despite His Promises

Republican National Committee: Obama Will Tax & Spend Despite His Promises

Berks County for McCain

A group of John McCain supporters in Berks County are getting organized using the Internet.

For more information, about Berks County for McCain, visit: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12621453970

Friday, July 11, 2008

Obama Vs. Obama On Death Penalty For Osama Bin Laden

RNC: Obama Vs. Obama On Death Penalty For Osama Bin Laden

Conservatives 'Deeply Depressed' Over McCain Campaign

Richard Viguerie: Conservatives Deeply Depressed Over McCain Campaign

America's Best Hospitals

U.S. News & World Report has released its 19th edition of "America's Best Hospitals."

Only one from Pennsylvania made the Top 10 list.

1. Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)
2. Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)
3. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles)
4. Cleveland Clinic
5. Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)
6. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
7. University of California, San Francisco Medical Center
8. Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston)
8. Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC)
10. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
10. University of Washington Medical Center (Seattle)

Follow the link below for more information.

U.S. News Media Group Releases 19th Edition of America's Best Hospitals

RNC: This Week in Change V

RNC: This Week in Change V

OBAMA'S VP HYPOCRISY?

Republican National Committee: OBAMA'S VP HYPOCRISY?

2008 Republican National Convention Announces Online Video Contest

2008 Republican National Convention Announces Online Video Contest

Monday, July 7, 2008

Democrats to Change Venue on the Last Night of the Convention

Statement on the Democrats' Decision to Change Venue on the Last Night of the Convention

Tony Phyrillas on the radio Wednesday

Tony Phyrillas be a guest on Great Talk Radio with Nick Lawrence from 4-5 p.m. Wednesday on WPAZ 1370 AM.

Topics of discussion will include the budget shenanigans pulled by Gov. Ed Rendell and the Pennsylvania Legislature and the 2008 presidential race.

Listeners can call in with questions or comments during the live broadcast at 610-326-4000.

You can also listen to the program on your computer by logging on to http://www.1370wpaz.com/ and clicking on the “live audio” button at the top of the home page.

New Coalition Presses for Quality Standards for Assisted Living Facilities in PA

New Coalition Presses for Quality Standards for Assisted Living Facilities in PA

New Law To Lower Many Homeowners' Insurance Premiums in PA

New Law To Lower Many Homeowners' Insurance Premiums

'Senator Obama, Where Do You Stand on Gun Bans,' Asks Firearms Industry Trade Group

'Senator Obama, Where Do You Stand on Gun Bans,' Asks Firearms Industry Trade Group

Obama's Economic Mixed Signals

Republican National Committee: Obama's Economic Mixed Signals - On the Campaign Trail, Obama's Economic Policies and Rhetoric Consist of Saying One Thing and Then Doing Another

Republican National Committee: Flipping and Flopping

Republican National Committee: Flipping and Flopping