There were no pitchforks or torches when I attended a public forum earlier this month at Chestnut Hill United Church about how Pennsylvanians could — just maybe — restore some fairness to the political process. Currently, lines are drawn by a politically embedded committee of five, including the majority and minority leaders of the Pennsylvania House and Senate. Boundaries change roughly every decade, on the heels of the national census. Ideally, districts are to contain about the same population and be geographically “compact and contiguous.” Not surprisingly, career politicians have engineered the process to work to their own benefit through a process known as gerrymandering. It consists of dividing geographic areas into representative districts that advantage one party or group over another. The term originated in 1812. A journalist with The Boston Gazette noted that a Massachusetts electoral district had taken on the shape of a salamander to benefit Gov. Elbridge Gerry. Soon, gerrymander was in common use.
- The Fair Share Tax divides our Personal Income Tax into two parts: 1.) a tax on wages and interest, and 2.) a tax on income from wealth (dividends; net income [from a business, profession, or farm]; capital gains; net income from rents, royalties, patents, and copyrights; gambling and lottery winnings; and income from estates or trusts.)
- The Fair Share Tax increases the tax on income from wealth from 3.07% to 6.5% and decreases the tax on wages and interest from 3.07% to 2.8%.
- Under the Fair Share Tax, 58.3% of taxpayers will see their taxes go down, 26.2% will see no change in their taxes, and only 15.4% will see their taxes go up.
- The Fair Share Tax brings in $2 billion in new revenue. Of that $2 billion, 50% comes from the top 1% of families, 72% comes from the top 5% of families, and 88% comes from the top 20% of families.
- Out-of-state taxpayers will pay 15.6% of the $2 billion increase in revenues.
- There is little variation in the impact of tax from one county to another or one legislative district to another. The percentage of taxpayers in a county that see a decrease or no change in their taxes ranges from 71% to 90%, with all but nine counties in the 80% to 89% range. In both rural and urban counties, an average of 85% of taxpayers will see their taxes go down or remain unchanged under the Fair Share Tax. Much the same is true in state legislative districts.
- Even after implementation of the Fair Share Tax, the effective rate on the top 1% of Pennsylvania taxpayers will be only 3.6%, less than that of any neighboring state and only 45% of the rate found in New York and New Jersey.
Lancaster, PA — A Commonwealth Court decision upholds the rejection of a charter school application by the School District of Lancaster. The Academy of Business and Entrepreneurship Charter School application to open a charter school in Lancaster was rejected after the court determined fewer than 30 percent of signatures on a petition to appeal the school board’s initial rejection. This ruling means ABECS cannot appeal SDL’s rejection of the charter application to the Pennsylvania Charter School Appeal Board. The district says it invested hundreds of man-hours evaluating and considering the academy’s 2012 application. The application was overwhelmingly rejected by the School Board.
Join PenSPRA Friday, April 7, 2017 in Shippensburg, PA 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with evening social events on Thursday, April 6th from 5 - 8 p.m. at the Shippensburg University Conference Center
The agenda is as follows: Supporting transgender students in our schools (9 am), Evaluating School Communications to Inform Your Effectiveness (10:30 am), and Cool Graphics Tools Hands-on Workshop (1:15 pm).
— Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), Senate Appropriations Committee chair