Political goings on in and around Berks County, PA. This blog is not affiliated with the Democratic Party. All rights reserved.
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I read with interest the article in yesterdays Reading Eagle regarding unemployment compensation for staff in school districts. The first thing I NEED to point out is the ERROR by Darrin Youker in the article. While teachers do get paid over the summer it is because they choose to do that! You may ask how that is possible? Well, in all the school districts I am aware of they give the teachers the option of getting paid during only the time worked OR choosing to spread their pays out over 26 pay periods. MOST if not all choose the 26 week option.
Now to the meat of the article and the staff that only work 180 or the individual school districts scheduled days! They all choose to accept those jobs based on the number of days and hours the job has to offer. Some because they may have children in school and it WORKS for their schedule. Some because they only want a "part time" job. Mr Caltagirone co-sponsored legislation to allow these same workers, who choose this employment situation, to collect unemployment compensation. He has NO idea what this will cost the school districts in the State! He also has no idea what it could cost some other employers in the State as well. HE is a proponent of lowering property taxes or maybe even trying to do away with them. He NOW is trying to send another unfunded mandate to the schools with this legislation. I ask all of you to band together and ask Mr Caltagirone and all the other co-sponsers of this legislation to reconsider it. It is NOT good legislation and will only increase property taxes for all of us until the legislature gets that right!
I have been looking back at some of the issues with the CURRENT row office holders. This is what I have discovered.
Sheriff Barry Jozwiak has used gun permit holders names and addresses for personal use. Then he also managed to have the names and addresses posted online for anyone to access. Do the gun permit holders still support the REPUBLICAN Sheriff? It will be interesting to see in the coming elections in 2007.
Recorder of Deeds Ellie Antoine had to be sued to do HER job. I found it real interesting that the Reading Eagle wanted us all to know that she has cleaned up the mess and wrote an article just telling us she is now doing what she should have been doing all along. Why did it take a lawsuit being filed to make her work? Will the Realtors of the County forget the blunders of the RECORDER OF DEEDS in the 2007 elections?
The Register of Wills is a different story. Larry Medaglia Jr. used his office to run the REPUBLICAN party as well as his real job. However, there was a story released sometime back "rating" the party chairs across the state. The REPUBLICAN chair at the time, also the Register of Wills at the same time was rated in the bottom 5 in the state including BOTH parties. If he could not run the party with the use of the "office" is he running the office or is the Chief Deputy? Does he deserve re-election? Again, the 2007 elections will tell the story.
NOW, I call on the DEMOCRATS to field the best candidates to run for these positions. The party Chair should be working now to find persons interested in running for these positions. His job in this election is done. PLEASE understand I am talking about the position of chair not what the person in the position decides he wants to do to help. This party needs PRO-ACTIVITY for the future elections not the same old attitude of wait and see.
With the outlines of the current office holders above it should be possible to take these offices in the coming election for the Democrats. I know I am looking ahead but that is what we should be doing!!!!
While we have just had a very good analysis of the Commonwealth Caucus Plan (CCP) by John, I would like to give you a review of Act 1. First understand this IS a tax shift and not tax reform as suggested by every incumbent in the state. The schools are being directed by the Act to change from property tax to Earned Income Tax (EIT) or Personal Income Tax (PIT). That is without question nothing more than a shift. Next, we are only eligible for the credit if we own property but if we earn money we are going to pay more EIT or PIT. What about the renter who pays "property tax" through his rent. I know some would argue the renters don't pay that tax. But a Senator I know admitted that his renters pay his property taxes. He also admitted that if his property tax was eliminated in the CCP, there was nothing in the law requiring him as a landlord to give his renters any kind of a rent "break". Act 1 is different only in the fact that landlords will not get a tax break because only homestead and farmstead owners qualify. Next, in the law it makes MORE people eligible for the rent rebate/tax rebate program that all ready exists in the state. This is a great program as it does not affect anyone except the person in the program. This is true tax relief. Now more about ACT 1, the law the current incumbents (except those that believe in the flawed CCP) believe is the best thing since sliced bread. Act 1 will cause most people in most of our local communities to pay more to help the minority pay less. Again, tax shifting from the property owner to the income earner. This is not the personal income earner but the earned income earner. The person with interest and dividends walks away without paying on those items. Next it hurts every school district in the state because it WILL affect their cash flow. Yes it helps the taxpayer by not allowing the school district to continue to just raise taxes without thought to the public. School districts are going to have to pay more attention to the cost savings measures that are out there. Coop buying practices as just one example. Some districts already are taking advantage of these things and are going to have trouble making it through the first budget year and in my opinion every budget year there after. You may ask why I say that? Well it is simple. The EIT or PIT are collected by employers (currently) in every employees paycheck. Well the NEW law does not MANDATE the employers to withhold at the NEW rate under ACT 1. So what does this mean? It sets up the school district to not receive the EIT or PIT until after the taxpayer has to file their local tax return in January through April 15th. The districts will not receive their money until June distributions. Think about that the school districts will not receive their share of the money for their 2006-2007 budget until the end of the 2006-2007 budget year. How can they meet their obligations for the year if they are not receiving the money to pay their bills till after the bills are due (maybe even past due)! Well enough for now! I just hope that the rumors I heard from the western part of the state are not true. The rumors have it that the legislature actually wants the schools to fail so they can take them over because the local boards didn't know how to run them properly. School boards can't do what they are if not given the tools and only the legislature can give school boards the tools! If you have questions regarding Act 1 ask in the comments and I will put an additional post or email a response to you if you leave an email address.
It's Halloween season so you know what that means: the election is just around the corner and George Bush is about to deal the Fear Card. He's going to don his big, bad ogre mask, unleash Darth Cheney and warn Americans that electing Democrats will be the equivalent of putting Osama bin Forgotten in the halls of Congress.
They did this in 2004, equating some of our Congressional candidates with the Taliban. They told voters outright that a vote for change was a vote for the terrorists. The only political tactic President Bush knows is the one using fear, terror, and portents of dark days ahead to scare voters just as Halloween approaches.
I am so fed up with the fear mongering, the war mongering, the hate mongering, the lie mongering, the politics of personal destruction. There's a very dark cloud hanging over America and it has nothing to do with the holiday. It's the specter of darkness cast by our leaders. The constant talk of dire consequences unless we do exactly as they say. We must follow their path of concentrating power in the White House to save us all from the bogeyman. The bogeyman they refused even to capture. Yes, Osama was forgotten. He was ignored because he served a purpose: keeping America gripped in fear.
It's time for a new Morning in America. It's time to cast off the cloak of darkness George Bush has enveloped us in to keep us from seeing the truth: his policies have made the world more dangerous, not less. His policies and mismanagement have created more terrorists not fewer. His incompetence has lost us this war and destabilized the Middle East and, therefore, the world.
Most of all he has cast a cloud of doom and gloom across America. It's time to throw off the politics of hatred and negativity. It's time to face the dawn of a new time with forthrightness and hope. We can deal with threats to our people. Real threats not ephemeral ones. Yes, Osama killed 3,000 Americans on September 11th. But we lose so many more Americans than that every year to things we can control. We allowed Osama to escape capture and diverted our resources and attention to Iraq.
We can deal with the limited threats of terrorism through intelligence, law enforcement techniques, better cooperation and equipment, human assets, diplomacy and justice. We do not have to tie Americans' civil rights in a small package and cast them aside. We do not have to tie every American in a knot of fear. The politics of fear must end. We must cast off these ropes and untie the American Dream once again.
This should be a time of hope. Americans should be resting comfortably knowing our skies, our ports, our borders are secure. Five years post September 11th we should have a world class intelligence operation working hand in hand with law enforcement to expose plots against us instead of putting 140,000 troops in harms way training additional agents of terror.
It's time for someone to step forward with a message of hope to counter the Republicans Message of Fear. Americans are hungry for a new message, one of hope and promise. One of better, brighter days.