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11/09/2017 4:43 pm  #1

More propaganda from Scott Wagner

Here is an e-mail I received today from Scott Wagner about an op-ed he provided to the York Daily Record  newspaper:

Dear Friend:

Below is an Op-Ed I wrote for the York Daily Record.  I thought it was important to share it directly with you as well. 


Scott R. Wagner
Senator, 28th District, York County

Voters Chose to Amend their Constitution – How Did We Get Here?

This past Election Day, voters across the Commonwealth voiced their agony and disdain over the current property tax system.

Tuesday’s results are no surprise given Pennsylvania is considered the “Wild West” of property taxation. In fact, one study puts us in the top 10 with the worst property tax system in the country. The concept of eliminating property taxes attracts the support of Republicans and Democrats alike because our current system is not based on one’s ability to pay.

I was optimistic when I first came to the state Senate three years ago that we could forge a bipartisan agreement to do something about this universally hated tax.

Governor Wolf’s first budget proposal included $12.7 billion in new taxes on Pennsylvanians that was originally sold as “school property tax relief.” However, when the plan was publicly released, it showed a bulk of the new taxes went to grow state government with very little providing long-overdue property tax relief. It was a classic bait-and-switch. Fortunately for taxpayers, not one member of the House – Republican or Democrat – supported the governor’s plan when brought up for a vote.

In November of 2015, the state Senate came within one vote of approving a measure to provide school property tax elimination. Unfortunately, Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack, who presides over the Senate, cast the tiebreaking vote against the proposal killing any effort to provide relief to Pennsylvania homeowners.

Since the crushing defeat in 2015, the process to amend our state’s constitution kicked off, which requires the state Senate and House to approve a proposal in two consecutive sessions. Since the legislature approved it, the question went to you – the voters. Fortunately for school property tax opponents, this process did not involve Governor Wolf or his Lieutenant Governor.

Over the coming weeks and months, I look forward to working with my reform-minded colleagues in the legislature to come up with meaningful solutions to address this crisis.

While passage of this amendment to our state’s constitution on its own does not cure our property tax plague, it gets the ball moving towards meaningful school property tax elimination for homeowners in Pennsylvania.

Here is my response to Scott Wagner which I sent to his office today:

Subject: Your e-mail with 11/9/17 op-ed

Questions and Comments:

Mr. Wagner:
I received your e-mail today concerning your op-ed on property tax and the recent ballot initiative that may start some process in the legislature to address this problem. While the initiative was on the recent ballot, it’s wording was confusing to many voters and, even though it passed, really does nothing to eliminate property taxes. It merely encourages the legislative branches to begin to discuss and investigate various alternatives. In your op-ed you, once again, place blame (without definitive verification) for the property tax debacle at the feet of the governor’s office. In truth, definitive action is required by the branch of the government that is constitutionally responsible for budgetary approval and implementation. That branch of government is the legislative branch. The legislature’s ineptitude at properly discharging this constitutional duty was stunningly visible this year with their passage of a spending bill without the revenue side of the budget being passed until 4 months later (six months late). One possible revenue stream that was not passed by you and your colleagues was a severance/extraction tax on oil and gas drillers operating in the commonwealth. This type of tax has been initiated by every other state where these drillers operate and provide substantial revenue to the citizens of those states to be spent on needed services like supporting education funding, needed infrastructure repair, lowering sales tax and income tax relief. You have been one of the most vehemently vocal elected officials that oppose this tax as the following article from PennLive documents:

Did Sen. Scott Wagner try to kill a natural gas tax to help his campaign for governor?

| Monday Morning Coffee By John L. Micek jmicek@pennlive.comUpdated Oct. 2

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers. It's no secret that there's an unavoidable patina of electoral politics slathered all over the long-simmering debate over whether Pennsylvania should slap a severance tax on natural gas drillers. In his 2014 campaign for the top spot, now-Gov. Tom Wolf promised to tax drillers and to use the proceeds to, among other things, pay for programs for Pennsylvania school-kids. Three years later, Wolf still hasn't fulfilled that promise, but it seems closer than ever to the goal-line in this fall's budget debate. But rarely have electoral and budget politics intersected as closely as they did late last month when one of the men hoping to replace Wolf in 2018, GOP state Sen. Scott Wagner, directly appealed to a senior House Republican to kill a severance tax proposal now before the chamber. Senate GOP leader discusses next step in budget completion process

As Steve Esack of The Morning Call reported over the weekend, Wagner, R-York, was caught on tape on Sept. 14 by a Democratic tracker assigned to follow him, saying that he'd urged House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor, also a York Republican, to fight a severance tax proposal that's part of a $570 million, Senate-approved revenue package. Stop us if you've heard this one before, but Pa. budget logjam shows signs of easing

Speaking to a gathering of York County residents, Wagner was caught on tape saying this, The Call reported: "I went to school with Stan Saylor," Wagner said, according to the recording. "And I told Stan at a meeting three weeks ago, he was sitting like 15 feet away from me, I said 'Stan you cannot let this severance tax get through ... because if that happens the governor is going to get re-elected. Stan, you take that to the bank.'"

Wagner is vying with Pittsburgh-area businessman Paul Mango for the Republican gubernatorial nod. And while the garrulous Republican is a noted anti-tax hawk, the fate of any tax proposal is inextricably tied to his own electoral fortunes.

Beth Melena, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party, accused House Republicans of "conspiring" with Wagner to block the tax proposal -- which Wolf, a majority of Wagner's fellow Senate Republicans, and House and Senate Democrats, want to use to help balance a $32 billion spending plan that Wolf allowed to lapse into law in late June. Wagner's comments to Saylor are "Harrisburg at its very worst," Melena said. "Scott Wagner seems to have swamp fever."

Wagner's campaign manager, Jason E. High, downplayed the comments as "campaign talk," Esack reported. The GOP gubernatorial hopeful has long opposed the levy, High said. "He's been pretty vocal about that for a long time," High said.

Saylor's spokesman, John O'Brien, declined to comment on the specifics of his boss's conversation with Wagner, but Saylor "doesn't allow political conversations to affect his views and votes on policy items," O'Brien told Esack, adding that Saylor has a "long record of opposing a severance tax. It's nothing new."

Although you have been asked several times to explain your reasoning for your opposition to this tax, you have consistently refused to provide a clear, concise, and reasonable answer. Rather than complaining about others that oppose your vague positions, maybe you should employ cooperation, collaboration, and compromise within the scope of your job with your senate colleagues to provide beneficial plans for the people of Pennsylvania. Sincerely,


11/09/2017 4:54 pm  #2

Re: More propaganda from Scott Wagner

Yeah got it too. 

The voting public was likely duped thinking this amendment had something behind it. As it stands it just allowed the legislature to come up with SOMETHING to reduce/replace the property tax. So in essence everyone who voted for this is voting for an unknown. What a sham. Somehow when I vote, I want to know exactly what I am voting on. 

"Do not confuse motion and progress, A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress"

11/09/2017 6:13 pm  #3

Re: More propaganda from Scott Wagner

Good job, rongone!  I'd like to hear a response to your email.  I'll hold my breath until Wagner gets back to you.


11/10/2017 9:58 am  #4

Re: More propaganda from Scott Wagner

Just Fred wrote:

Good job, rongone!  I'd like to hear a response to your email.  I'll hold my breath until Wagner gets back to you.

I’ll let you know when and if I hear back from him. This is my second attempt to try to get an answer out of Scott about his opposition to the severance/extraction tax related to the state budget fiasco.

I’m not going to hold my breath until I get a response though. Past experience has taught me that this will lead to asphyxiation.

     Thread Starter

11/11/2017 5:01 pm  #5

Re: More propaganda from Scott Wagner

I feel for you guys. I lived in PA until 2008.
Massachusetts is a well governed state, and I rejoice in the competence.
Not gloating.
I wish you guys well, but I don't see much hope there.

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. 

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