Category Archives: Taxes & budgets

How mandates raise your local school taxes

By Lisa Longo, President, Phoenixville Area School District Board of Education, The Times of Chester County, Jul 24th, 2018

Do you wonder sometimes why property taxes increase? I did and I decided to start attending school board meetings to understand. That was seven years ago. Now, as a member of our school board, I can share what I have learned.

I discovered a large part of a school district budget is mandated. Congressional and state legislators impose regulations that dictate many of the services school districts must provide. Sadly, many of these mandates are not funded, or are only partially funded. This is why they are known as “unfunded mandates”.

School districts are forced to raise taxes locally because by law they must balance their budget. So every time Congress or State legislatures mandate a service or test, or they cut education funds but not the mandate, they force a local tax increase. And while the claim is that testing is to ensure schools are meeting basic standards, or that charters and vouchers simply offer “choice” when public schools aren’t “performing’, the fact is, these cost taxpayers millions, stress our students and some say, waste both time and money. Certainly we need to question why funds are being diverted from public schools to for-profits, especially cyber charter for-profit entities which aren’t meeting even basic standards.

If the argument is that charters are needed because schools aren’t performing, why are we funding charters that aren’t performing? And tuition to charter schools is a very large unfunded mandate in many school districts, costing more than standardized testing in many cases….

keep reading at The Times of Chester County

Progressive talking points on the Trump budget

Trump’s budget proposal includes a long list of awful ideas that would leave more families starving and more people in poverty. Here are just a few examples:

Massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid
Elimination of student loan forgiveness programs
End food stamp program and replace with a “box” of canned food
Defund PBS and NPR
Huge cuts to science programs
Billions in cuts to K-12 public schools

Many parts of this country, right now, already suffer from high rates of poverty, hunger, lack of health care, and more. Rather than end this inequality and injustice, Trump wants to make that the norm for everyone in this country who isn’t rich.

As long as Republicans control Congress, there’s a good chance some or all of these things will become law — and millions of Americans will be hurt as a result.

He wants big increases in spending on the military, particularly to build a lot of new nuclear weapons that he can use to threaten World War III.

He wants massive increases for ICE, which is already breaking up families and ripping people from their homes and communities in service of Trump’s white nationalist agenda.

And yes, Trump also wants billions for a border wall.

Already Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are using deficits to justify these cuts. We need to make sure that in 2018 we send progressive Democrats to Congress who will not let deficits be used as an excuse to slash Medicare and schools — or as a reason we can’t provide Medicare for All.

Parents need a helping hand: H.B. 2035

Statement on H.B. 2035 from Melissa Shusterman, candidate for PA House 157

Rep. Carolyn T. Comitta, along with several bipartisan cosponsors, has recently introduced H.B. 2035. H.B. 2035 would provide a tax deduction of up to $10,000 to help offset the costs of childcare for Pennsylvania families. Childcare is a necessity for many Pennsylvanians but is a cost that is rising quickly and burdening families.

For many years, I had to raise my son as a single mother while also starting my own business. I know how hard it is to balance raising a family and the demands of a career. I know the stress of having to make hard choices on a tight budget. I also know that this bill will go a long way to easing the strain on Pennsylvania’s hard-working families. Childcare should not be an impossibility for so many of them. I wholeheartedly support this bill.

If elected State Representative, I will vote for this bill and continue to work towards making life easier for the families of our state and our district.

Donald Trump’s Nasty Budget

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, FEB. 12, 2018

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump told the “forgotten men and women of our country” that he would champion them. As evidence that he was a different kind of Republican, he promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit poor and middle-class families.

On Monday, President Trump proposed a budget that would slash spending on Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, transportation and other essential government services, all while increasing the federal deficit.

Mr. Trump’s 2019 budget, combined with the tax cuts Republicans passed last year, would amount to one of the greatest transfers of wealth from the poor to the rich in generations. It would also charge trillions of dollars in new debt to the account of future Americans. It’s a plan that could please only far-right ideologues who want to dissolve nearly every part of the federal government, save the military….

keep reading at New York Times