Tea Party Agenda by State Rep Warren Kampf; so claims Former State Rep Paul Drucker

Today’s online version of Main Line Media News includes an ‘As I See It’ op-ed article written by former PA State Rep Paul Drucker (D). Drucker suggests that currently serving PA State Rep Warren Kampf (R) of the 157 Legislative District is following the ‘Tea Party’ agenda.

The editorial specifically points to the state budget cuts to education, lack of taxing on Marcellus Shale gas drilling and the state’s decreased funding for social services. Drucker claims that an extraction tax levied on the gas-drillers would have helped solve many of the state’s budgetary problems. Based on the editorial, it is clear that Drucker does not support some of Kampf’s decisions since taking office.  (Drucker’s editorial is below).

Read the editorial — do you think Drucker’s opinion provides a fair analysis of Kampf’s performance as a state representative? Do you agree that Kampf has leanings towards the Tea Party agenda?

 I had some questions about Drucker’s op-ed  . . . specifically why he wrote this editorial ‘now’ and what was ‘his’ agenda? I emailed him some questions and asked for a response by Wednesday, August 30. I will post any response that I receive from our former state representative.

Here is the list of questions that I sent to former State Rep Paul Drucker:

1. Why write the As I See It editorial ‘now’?

2. What do you think are the most challenging issues facing the residents of the 157 Legislative District?

3. If you had been re-elected as state representative, what would you be doing differently than State Rep Warren Kampf to address these issues?

4. Where do you think State Rep Kampf should focus his attention?

5. Do you think that the possible 157 Legislative District re-districting could play a role in the State Representative race of 2012? If so, why?

6. Are you considering a 2012 run against State Rep Kampf?

Warren Kampf refuses to permit facts to interfere with his Tea Party agenda
By Paul Drucker
Main Line Media News
Published: Saturday, August 27, 2011

It is summer, and the annual Harrisburg spectacle of balancing the budget has come and gone. Back in March, Governor Corbett presented a budget that rolled back government spending to 2008-9 levels, with the most draconian cuts made to public education. The proposed budget slashed $1.2 billion from pre-K-12 education and $686 million from higher education. Moreover, the cut to state-funded colleges and universities represented a staggering 50-percent decrease from 2010 state funding levels.

The ink wasn’t even dry on Corbett’s proposed budget when State Rep. Warren Kampf jumped on the bandwagon, e-mailing his constituents in the 157th District, “This is a tough but honest budget: Corbett balances his budget without resorting to massive tax hikes.”

Actually, the budget included no “tax hikes” at all. Despite widespread support for a tax on gas-drillers in the Marcellus Shale gas field, Mr. Kampf aligned himself with the slash-only Tea Partiers and balanced the budget by making massive cuts in expenditures.

Apparently, Kampf and his anti-tax colleagues did not anticipate the outcry from Pennsylvanians who were opposed to public education bearing the brunt of Corbett’s budget cuts. In short order, Mr. Kampf reversed his earlier position. He claimed, “I said from day one that we could do a much better job prioritizing spending than the governor did in his proposal…”

The result was the proposed House Bill 1485. In an e-mail to constituents he wrote that House Republicans had “unveiled a plan that shifted state spending back to our schools.” He claimed the bill “restored education spending… by building on bipartisan ideas…”

In reality H.B. 1485 didn’t “restore” anything. It merely reduced the size of the draconian cuts. The funding gap for pre-K-12 education remains at $586 million. Higher-education funding remains $165 million below 2010-11 levels, almost ensuring increases in tuition and fees for college students this fall.

And the Republican House budget’s partial restoration of education funding has come at a steep cost to the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians. It slashes an additional $1 billion from health and human services. In reality, Mr. Kampf and his colleagues simply decided to shift the pain.

Furthermore, no one can honestly call this bill bipartisan. The vote was 109 Republicans in support, 90 Democrats and two Republicans opposed.

In Sen. Andy Dinniman’s view, “This budget fails some of the most deeply held priorities of the district: education, the environment and health care. A vote for this budget was a vote against open space, and a vote for higher local property taxes and higher tuition at state schools.” In effect it is nothing more than trickle-down taxation; robbing Peter to pay Paul.

While Representative Kampf claims to be a strong supporter of local control for schools, he voted for H.B. 1326 within hours of passing the budget. This bill restricts the ability of school boards to raise revenue beyond the Act 1 limit and increases their costs if they attempt to do so. Despite the fact that only three states in this country fund education at a lower level than Pennsylvania, the Republican majority in Harrisburg made it a high priority to further restrict local districts’ flexibility and discretion.

But according to Representative Kampf, this bill “strengthens taxpayers’ voices in the local communities and encourages school districts to budget more efficiently…” He knows that historically, very few tax increases are approved by referendum, and that no referenda to raise revenue beyond Act 1 limitations have ever passed. The bill virtually guarantees larger class size, reduced educational options and an overall decline in the quality of education.

All of these Tea Party machinations could have been avoided if Pennsylvania did what every other natural gas-producing state has done – impose an extraction tax. We are the only major energy-producing state without one. A current Democratic-supported Marcellus tax bill projects 2012 revenue at $492 million with annual increases going forward.

In addition, as of June 30, there was a $785-million budget surplus. These revenues could have easily supported a budget that avoided deep and harmful cuts. Instead we have a Tea Party budget, supported by Representative Kampf, which will clearly result in a hike in local property taxes and hurt the neediest Pennsylvanians.

As Senator Dinniman so eloquently reminds us, “These are not our values… We value education, and we value the Quaker tradition that reaches back to the founding of our country and teaches us to extend a hand to those who are truly in need.”

Clearly this year’s budget doesn’t honor those values. And no stream of e-mails or party-generated talking points can hide this fact.

Paul Drucker served as the state representative for the 157th District in 2009-2010. He served as Tredyffrin Township supervisor from December 2005 until January 2008.

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16 Comments

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  1. Although I see this as some sore feelings rhetoric, I agree with many of the assessments of Mr. Drucker.

    I do however think that the whole ‘tea party’ agenda is not anything new, especially in this area. It may have more of a negative stigma now that it has a name, but the reality is that Tredyffrin has been following many many of these ideals for many many years.

    Unfortunately, it has ran our local government into the ground, and now perhaps it will run our state into the ground if Warren is indeed stuck on these extreme ideals.

    Being labeled as a team party constituent doesn’t really bother me too much. Similar to when Rich Brake was not too long ago. It’s more about how they can work with the rest of government to ensure the government serves all people, not just those who voted for them. The bull-headed behavior of many of our tea-party leaders is the larger of the issue at this point.

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    flyersfan Reply:

    It is only bull headed because it doesn’t agree with the opposition. Kind of like koom bye ya Barry pleading for bi partisanship as long as everyone goes along with him.

    Some bull headed ideas may just be good ones.

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  2. Lend a helping hand through personal charity and churches, not by the government…that is a total misrepresentation of the Quaker spirit. This is the attack line that the Democrats are taking…that it is a zero sum game with taxes and how much money is actually spent on education etc. It sounds good, but we have learned that most of education spending is now used for union political activities and retirement plans for grownups. It has little to do with the children anymore. I’m tired of my taxes being thrown away and having the unions bargaining with the people they work all year to elect.

    We spend more per student on education than ever before and our kids are dumber than they’ve ever been.They don’t know math and can barely read. They do, however, score high in self-esteem and everybody gets a trophy. We have bred the self determination and grit out of our children.

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  3. Sara, you’re entitled to your cynicism and negativity, but PA is notoriously stingy when it comes to funding public education, and the unions have little if anything to do with that. There’s no question that many public schools are falling short of providing a quality education, but spreading tax dollars more thinly through vouchers for private/religious education is NOT the answer. That’s what the Republican legislature and Governor Corbett have planned for PA.

    Personally, I don’t want to live in a country that leaves its poor, its seniors and those in need of a temporary helping hand to the whims of “charity”. Those who have worked hard and achieved some level of security should be thankful. There but for the grace of God go “they”. That some of the fortunate and the successful equate paying taxes for essential services that benefit others as an involuntary transfer of wealth is sad. There is a reasonable, middle ground somewhere. And I don’t hear that kind of dialogue coming from a single Republican these days.

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  4. I guess two things bother me about Mr. Drucker’s article.

    The first is that Rep. Kampf was never endorsed by any of the local tea party groups. Yes, some of the members of those groups liked his stance on fiscal issues more than Mr. Drucker’s, but Kampf was never endorsed. I guess if you lie long enough (or repeat it enough), people will forget the truth.

    Second — and much more hypocritical — is Mr. Drucker’s conveniently forgetting that his actions in the legislature put our state in the fiscal mess that Rep. Kampf faced.

    Instead of using the federal stimulus monies as “found money’ that maybe could be used to establish a trust fund we could continuously draw from, Mr. Drucker chose to unwisely spend them right away even though he knew this money would never again come to the state. Then, when the money didn’t come from the federal government and the Legislature needed to live with that lost funding, Mr. Drucker calls it a “cut.”

    The reality: STATE spending on education is more than it has ever been. The only ‘missing’ money is the one-time federal stimulus funding that was misspent by Mr. Drucker.

    I also laugh at Mr. Drucker’s saying the state has a “surplus.” Because politicians like Mr. Drucker supported ‘smoke and mirror” budgets that used dedicated funds for general operating expenses. In particular, Mr. Drucker supported raiding the MCare Fund to the tune of $800 million — money that the courts are most likely to rule the state must return to that fund. How can you have $700 million surplus when you owe $800 million. Or, when you owe billions in debt, including the $600 million Rep. Drucker supported for projects of dubious quality.

    I would think Mr. Drucker is running again. After all, hypocrisy like this article are only seen among the most active campaigners!

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    Version Reply:

    You really need to give over the idea that one group of people are to blame for the mess we are in. From where I sit, they all have their finger in it.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Warren Kampf and the Valley Forge Patriots, a local conservative tea party organization were discussed on Community Matters during the last campaign season. Kampf and members of his campaign committee attended Valley Forge Patriot meetings and he enjoyed their support in the election.

    A Google search of Kampf and the Valley Forge Patriots identifies the association. Post-November 2010 general election, the Pottstown Mercury ran the headline, “Valley Forge Patriots Savor Midterm Elections” http://www.pottsmerc.com/articles/2010/11/09/news/srv0000009887394.txt?viewmode=fullstory

    Following the election, the Valley Forge Patriots, held their monthly meeting at the Bear Rock Cafe in Valley Forge Shopping Center to celebrate the recent elections of their candidates. US Rep Jim Gerlach & newly-elected State Rep Warren Kampf attended.

    From the article:

    “Members of the Valley Forge Patriots, a local tea party group, believe they played a key role in energizing the electorate to support candidates . .

    David Adamski Jr., who headed up the group’s get-out-the-vote effort, said members left campaign literature at thousands of homes between April and November.

    “For the election, we stuffed 6,000 bags and delivered every single one of them,” Adamski said. During the spring and summer, another 2,000 packets were distributed to residences. “We did a great job.” Patriots chapters kept very busy mobilizing members in recent weeks to get out the vote.

    Maureen FitzGerald, a Coatesville resident, sat at a table listening to Kampf and a half-dozen or so Patriots, who passed the microphone around to those who wished to say a few words.

    The Tea Party started small less than two years ago, but the grassroots movement’s members now number in the thousands. The political activists were crucial in the mid-term election, she said.

    “But we made a difference in this country this year, and I’m so proud of everyone, and I’m glad I got involved,” FitzGerald said. ”
    ———————————-
    From this article, it is very clear that Kampf enjoyed the support of the Valley Forge Patriots.

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    flyersfan Reply:

    He enjoyed the support of the Valley Forge Patriots. Big sin.. Let’s draw and quarter him. Only liberal groups can support their own?

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    From the West Reply:

    Pattye —

    Never said Kampf didn’t enjoy their support. What I said is he wasn’t endorsed, so he wasn’t their official candidate in the way that Paul Drucker was the official candidate of several unions, etc. Nor in the way Drucker tries to paint Kampf as their official candidate.

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  5. Version —

    I am more than willing to lay blame at the feet of all of them. Dems have been wrong. GOP has been wrong. Far left has been wrong. Far right has been wrong. I have done this in the past and will in the future.

    My intent was to point out some of the facts missing from Mr. Drucker’s purely political opinion article.

    In short, I was trying to show that both sides can be taken to task whereas Mr. Drucker’s intent was to simply blame one group as you so eloquently put it!

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    Version Reply:

    Ok, great I get where you are coming from, and sounds good. So now lets get over the blame game, which both side are so good at, and start to move this thing FORWARD!!!! In the end, it matters very little who is to blame, what does count is who will stand up and try to fix. And I really don’t see that on either side!!!!!

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  6. from the west,
    I congratulate you on having the chutzpah to even read Druckers spew. Time to move on and let the adults fix the mess, and I am sure they will even with all the squealing and kicking and screaming from those who think about government as Drucker does.

    Your points are well taken. Thanks for the all abilities playground, Mr Drucker. That was decent and now I am sure you can find work back at the plaintiffs bar.

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    give it a rest Reply:

    Troubled by the use of the word “tea party” to attempt to radicalize anyone. Early in the process some union thugs beat up some other “scabs” if I recall correctly (and Im’ SURE someone here will correct me if I am wrong). WHen someone pointed out that they were Drucker people, there was quick and strong reaction that a candidate cannot be defined just by his supporters. Who else would the tea party support besides Kampf? And the notion of the “tea party” is turning into some kind of defined term….when it fact it is people who are begging for change, and tired of asking, have organized to promote it. There is absolutely no barrier to any group of citizens united to create a force in politics. And for us to define candidates in large part by the peole who support them is lazy. Tea Party people that I know could not be less alike — but they seem to have one common goal — to stop the redistribution of wealth in this country. To stop looking for a deep pocket to fill the public coffers. Even the most liberal among us can agree that we are tired of government programs that seem to have no remaining purpose and no fiscal awareness. We have discussed the post office and it’s self-supporting status, but also that it BY LAW cannot charge different amounts for a letter mailed from Berwyn to Wayne than that same letter mailed from Berwyn to Los Angeles. Off the point — but sometimes the problems are too substantial to just fix — you have to chip away at them. And the partisan nature of politics — where supporters demand influence — means getting re-elected is the biggest part of someone’s job.

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  7. I believe many Americans, including those that reside here in Tredyffrin have had enough of the vilification of the Tea Party. As the Black congressional caucus continues to do so, they exhibit abhorent racism they profess to abhor themselves. After all, the Tea Party isn’t the WHite Congressional Caucus. Why isn’t there one? Now that would be racist, right?

    Will be watching TV land during Barry’s speech. Then its football time. I have heard enough.

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  8. It does not appear that Paul Drucker fact checked his story before letting it be published. I do not know where he comes up with the claim that only 3 other states in the country fund education at a lower level than Pennsylvania.

    According to President Obama’s US Census Report, Pennsylvania outspent 39 other States in the nation on elementary and secondary school education:

    http://www2.census.gov/govs/school/09f33pub.pdf

    Thus, Pennsylvania ranks near the top among States for per student spending, not at the very bottom as Drucker falsely claims.

    It is also interesting that Paul Drucker would advocate against voters having a say in whether or not School Districts should raise taxes beyond the inflation rate. H.B. 1326 gives greater control to the people and gives them a larger say in how they govern their own affairs. That’s generally seen as being a good thing in democracies.

    As for taxing the Marcellus Shale, I would favor a use tax to pay for the impact that drilling operations may have on infrastructure and the environment. I am not sure if Warren Kampf does, but then again, the only way to have an elected official that you agree with 100% on every issue is to run for office yourself.

    I question, however, Paul Drucker’s desire to treat oil operations as the State’s personal cash cow. This additional tax is not going to solve any budget shortfalls and may have the unintended effect of reducing business and job creation growth in Pennsylvania by forcing companies not to drill in many locations where the operational costs are high and the chance for making a profit low.

    It is also erroneous to say that the Marcellus Shale companies do not pay taxes. They pay the same taxes as any other business in Pennsylvania, and thus contribute millions to the State’s coffers.

    Finally, the companies that are involved in the Marcellus Shale create tens of thousands of jobs that pay middle class wages to Pennsylvanians. All of these jobs mean one less person who has to receive unemployment benefits, and one more person who is paying State income taxes and local property taxes.

    [Reply]

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