Pattye Benson

Community Matters

PA State Senatorial Candidate Tom Houghton has Questions for Pileggi and Corbett . . . Tredyffrin Needs to Ask the Same Questions of Kampf and Dinniman

Tom Houghton, former State Representative for Chester County’s 13th House District and a recently declared Democratic Pennsylvania State Senate candidate, released the following editorial, ‘Right to Know’ Stance on Budget’. In the 2012 senatorial race, Houghton will be opposing Senate majority leader, Senator Dominic Pileggi (R), who represents the 9th Senatorial District in Chester and Delaware counties.

Although Tredyffrin Township is not included in the 9th Senatorial District, Houghton’s remarks on issues are equally apropos for our community. As a resident from southern Chester County, Houghton is calling on his elected officials to answer questions regarding school budget deficits, Marcellus shale natural gas severance tax and Gov. Corbett’s proposed budget cuts to public education funding. I support Houghton’s ‘Right to Know’ request for those that serve his community.

Taxpayer accountability from all elected officials is a right that we should all expect, and that includes State Rep Warren Kampf and State Sen Andy Dinniman. Houghton’s concerns and questions to leadership, echo those that we need to ask here in Tredyffrin Township. I urge Kamp and Dinniman to provide answers to us, the taxpayers. In Houghton’s words, “. . . Constituents deserve nothing less. We deserve the ‘Right to Know’.”

‘Right To Know’ Stance on Budget

For a legislator who passed the ‘Right to Know’ law, Senator Pileggi certainly always seems to keep his constituents in the dark.

Last week I attended an Avon Grove School Board meeting along with a few hundred anxious parents. The school board was courageous in calling the meeting to break the news to the community that they not only were considering raising property taxes by 5.9 percent but were seriously weighing cutting the middle school athletics program, mostly due to the brutal state education funding cuts being proposed by Governor Tom Corbett. They even reached out to the newspapers in the area to inform the community of their budget situation.

The Board has already cut millions of dollars from their budget and are essentially informing the community that it would be nearly impossible to solely cut their way out of this shortfall in state funding.

Gov. Corbett announced a 200 million dollar corporate tax giveaway just days before proposing these draconian education cuts to K-12, state and state-related universities.

As a community, all of us deserve an explanation from our elected state officials as to their position on the proposed state budget.

Senator Dominic Pileggi should hold forums around his district to explain the budget process and where he stands on the proposed cuts. Reaching out to his constituents through the area newspapers would also be helpful.

He needs to answer questions like:

– Does he support the 200 million dollar corporate tax break, especially when college students and every resident paying property taxes is being asked to sacrifice?

– Will he fight for a Marcellus shale natural gas severance tax to gain revenue to help avoid or greatly reduce these education cuts?

– Why are we the only state in the nation that does not levy this severance tax (even Texas and West VA has a severance tax)?

– Why did the Senate, under his leadership, break the deal with us House Democrats, to pass a severance tax by October of 2010?

– Why does he not support finding alternative means of funding our schools other than property taxes, especially now when cutting state education funding only forces school boards to raise property taxes?

– Why does he not support legislation I introduced last term that calls for our casinos to surrender $250 million dollars they use for promotional giveaways – to the property tax relief fund?

These are just some of the questions that need to be answered. Why is Senator Pileggi refusing to face his constituents or inform us of what’s going on with the proposed state budget?

As your state senator, as I did as a state representative, I will be in constant communication with residents through the press and will hold forums to explain what is going on in Harrisburg and where I stand on important issues. Constituents deserve nothing less. We deserve the ‘Right to Know’.

Tom Houghton,
Former State Rep. and candidate for State Senate – 2012 Election
London Grove Township

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  1. This is a fun game of nothing more than political BS from a person who only won election because of the Obama-wave and because of a 3rd party candidate with the same name as the retiring Rep who had served like forever.

    Perhaps Mr. Houghton should answer some questions as well, like about his record in the house for just 2 years…

    1. Why did he vote for all the stimulus money to be used for short-term education funding increases knowing the money would go away?

    2. Why did he not warn his own school districts the money would be going away and they shouldn’t increase their budgets expecting it to continue?

    3. Why did he vote to increase state spending billions of dollars during economic downturn?

    4. Why did he vote for $600M in new debt during economic downturn and to be spent on questionable projects?

    OR as a local Supervisor before he got to the house..

    5. Why did he vote for big property tax increases?
    6. Why did he vote for massive new housing developments that caused school property taxes to rise as the district had to provide services to all the new students?

    1. Thanks for the contribution to balance the discussion. I know nothing about politics in that area, but whenever someone asks questions like “does he support the $200M tax break….” without identifying the nature of the legislation etc., it seems a poorly developed question.

  2. Pattye,

    Your posts (re: Christine’s petition & this one) are very timely; as yesterday I received a robocall from Warren Kampf saying he was workiing on behalf of his constituents. Of course, he did not indicate HOW he was doing this or if he would vote against leadership if it were beneficial to us (ie property taxes, etc). Just the same old BS.

    I’m tired of elected officials speaking out of both sides of their mouths & not standing up for what they believe even if it’s at odds with their leadership.

  3. To the poster who posted about the Tea Party agenda, as if everybody agreed it was a problem, please consider this viewpoint. And about 10 more from different angles.

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