Election Day is Tuesday and based on campaign mailers, signs and general rhetoric that we were voting on the Earned Income Tax. The EIT is not an issue for us on Election Day, at least not this election.
Much of this campaign discussion on the EIT stems from T/E School Board decision to form a Tax Study Group as part of their budget development process. The goal of the committee of eight volunteers, including Michael Abele, Michael Benning, Rita Borzillo, Marie Falcone, William Mullin, Terri Smith, Andrew Snyder and Edward Stevens, was to study the effect that an EIT would have on the residents and the school district and provide the pros and cons.
The Tax Study Group held 5 public workshop meetings and presented their findings yesterday at two public meetings. Based on the Tax Study Group’s findings, the school board will make a decision whether to include the EIT question on the April 2012 ballot. If the EIT question is placed on the primary election ballot in April, community members will hopefully be able to make an informed decision.
Although I was not able to attend the EIT meeting due to a prior commitment, it is my understanding that both were well attended. I am on record as saying that I believe the process for a fair and open discussion of the Earned Income Tax has been tainted by the last few weeks of campaign politics from school board candidates. Serious economic issues are going to continue to affect our school district and cause many challenges to the school board facing the 2012-13 budget and teacher negotiations.
If you were unable to attend either of yesterday’s public meetings by the Tax Study Group, the EIT presentation will be aired on TETV, Comcast Channel 14 and Verizon Channel 20 at 9 PM daily from November 4 through November 14.
Ray Clarke attended yesterday’s Tax Study Group and offers his candid remarks from the presentation:
The Tax Study Group matinee played to a packed house – probably a hundred or more residents in attendance. I whole-heartedly encourage anyone interested in the fiscal and educational future of T/E to attend the evening performance. Of the 30 slides, two thirds are devoted to background – really important to place the discussion in its proper context. The pros and cons of the EIT were fairly presented, although not weighted nor compared directly to alternatives (it was not the TSG mandate to do that). The audience seemed engaged throughout, and the questions at the end added much to the discussion.
The elephant in the room: what will be the attitude of the Townships? Will they take 50% of any money the voters may want to apply to their children’s education? Easttown and Tredyffrin may be very different, and I think we all need to have a very long memory about campaign promises made by Tredyffrin Supervisors. (The $30 million TESD fund balance did not go unremarked as a short-term support).
A lot of hard work and thought went into the research and analysis, and in developing a communication that is accessible to everyone. Shows how important the process was and what a travesty it is to try to short-change it. Hopefully many voters will be able to see the evening performance or the video and draw their own conclusions.