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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Governor: ‘Disaster’ Will Hit Counties Unless Changes Are Made

statecapitolBy Paul Heimel-Potter County Commissioner

If county governments want to avoid raising local real estate taxes, they will need to apply more pressure to the General Assembly. That was the pointed message by Gov. Ed Rendell to county leaders during the closing session of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania fall conference. “What was happening in Harrisburg, and Senate Bill 850 in particular, would have been absolutely ruinous to counties – an absolute disaster,” Rendell said. “It shifted the tax burden back to county and local governments. I realize that the end product wasn’t great and the cuts that we made were still painful to you . . . It could have been much, much worse.” Rendell apologized that some line items cut out of the 2009-10 operating budget, funding for county fairs as an example, will directly hit counties, but he said a long-term solution is available: diminishing the power of vested interests and lobbyists by limiting their donations to state election campaigns.

Three of these lobbying groups flexed their muscles during the budget deliberations and denied the Commonwealth much-needed revenue, Rendell charged. He accused senators and representatives of bowing to the lobbyists in voting against a tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco; elimination of the one-percent vendor sales tax discount for early payment, and reform of the pharmaceutical company “carve-out” for bulk purchases of prescription drugs.

cash“Special interests rule – they reign – in Harrisburg. There is only one way to break that control, and that is to have real campaign finance reform. We need your help. You are leaders in your counties.”

In the meantime, the governor said, local governments should oppose the legislature’s trend of reducing state funding for programs that counties are mandated to provide. “It’s a great political ploy. You can run as a guy who never voted for a tax increase, but you caused tax increases for sure by pushing the burden to schools and local governments.”

“We have put together a road map for potential disaster in the future . . . We balanced our budget to a great extent because we have $2 billion of federal stimulus money. The stimulus money will go away in fiscal year 2012.”

He reiterated his support for an increase in the state’s personal income tax of 3.07 percent, the second lowest in the nation. “My proposal was that we raise it to 3.57 percent, which would have made us the third lowest in the country (and) given us a sustaining source of revenue to address this disaster that’s coming.” Potter County Today


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the needed tax revenue is because of LARGE government, our townships and boro's are not growing from industry!

Instead of raising the State tax deduction from EVERY worker in the commonwealth why not raise it in the CITIES, they are the ones that are in need of large government, public transportation and so on.


I am all ready paying a tax on big truck tires for the public transportation in Pittsburgh and Philly and we live in POTTER COUNTY!

Get my point SPENDELL!

Unknown said...

Remember how after a big snow storm and the sun comes out and the snow slides off your roof and hits the ground? Well, that is what is happening to our tax revenue. It slides from our pockets (the roof) to Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (the ground).

Anonymous said...

And then they wonder why the average citizen turns on there gov't.

My Real Estate taxes are crazy right now, and can't get them lowered but they can sure raise them without a problem.

My health Insurance is fine, But we need to change everyone's insurance so others can get better insurance, yeap there is no problem with taking from me to give to others.

same with the state tax, I work so lets tax me more so we can give to others who don't.

This country is backwards if you ask me.

reward the non working, and punish the working.....

Anonymous said...

WHo voted for Obama?

Oz said...

Not me!

Anonymous said...

You got that right this country is very backwards when pro athletes make millions for playin childrens games.Yet a factory worker can barely have a decent vehicle and provide basic necessities for his or her family livin paycheck to paycheck.This country is going down the tubes very fast.Oh but lets not even check Tiger Woods for alcohol after he crashes at 2:30 in the morning.I wish I would have been the police on the scene of that one.There will probably be a few of them retiring in the next couple

Anonymous said...

Secede! North Pennsylvania north of 80 and South Pennsylvania south of it!