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’.
Former State Rep. and candidate for State Senate – 2012 Election
London Grove Township