Letter to the Editor: Abolish property tax in Pennsylvania; restore ownership to the people

Ownership is everything. It is the one of the foundation blocks of our Constitution, a document that our elected officials, progressives and conservatives alike, swear to uphold and protect. This is what makes America exceptional, the very basic tenet that ensures the right of individual freedom. The reality is that our elected representatives do very little to uphold these principles.

Since the time of President Woodrow Wilson there has been a concentrated effort to push forward the belief that private property is wrong for America. The progressive movement then and now contends that acquiring individual wealth is not fair no matter how lawfully it is acquired, that individual freedom to choose is wrong and as a consequence people do not have the ability or know how to manage their lives. Government, on the other hand, knows better as to what each individual needs, and will dole out (and take away) just the right amount of care and support that it deems necessary.

This tenet of progressives was further cemented into American government by President Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal with Social Security and his Second Bill of Rights. There was no outcry by Americans for the Social Security program and certainly no need for FDR’s Second Bill of Rights that amounted to nothing more than entitlements. President Lyndon Johnson continued the momentum of big government with his Great Society, which included Medicare and the war on poverty.

These programs and others that were devised to solidify the power of the ruling elite have done little if anything for Americans. These programs are costly, but more importantly they are anathema to freedom. Notably there have been no Republican presidents or a Republican-led Congress during the last 85 years that lifted a finger to control the growth of government or end the un-elected bureaucracy that we endure today. The people of the time were ignored then just as they are ignored today. This is history.

The truism “When we ignore history we are doomed to repeat it” should be emblazoned on the walls of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Gov. Tom Wolf ‘s budget simply perpetuates big government and the waste that comes with it while it continues to encumber private property, strangles human resources by restricting free market and crushes his constituency with a heavier burden of taxes. The GOP budget on the other hand, while not raising taxes, provides no measure such as referendum to keep taxing bodies in line by the consent of the governed.

We are getting the same-old answers to the same-old problems created by the same-old unimaginative, stale, stay-within-the-ideology thinking that has brought us to the impasse we have today. This is quite simply the result of pushing forward the ideology of the left and the right so much so that these unproductive concepts prove themselves to be completely foreign to the very precepts of individual freedom, private-property ownership and the freedom to choose, to name a few.

We must pass the Property Tax Independence Act, HB 76 and SB 76, because it reinforces the principle of private property ownership and relieves the heaviest tax burden on property owners. Gone will be the day when a 10-page insert is published in the local paper containing confiscated private property auctioned for back taxes.

We must cap the ability of taxing bodies – school boards, county and municipal governments – through referendum.

We must reduce the corporate tax rate in Pennsylvania so that job creation and our economy, driven by the free market, will prosper and flourish, abolishing the need for programs such as KOZ and LERTA, which have done little if anything for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

We must elect representatives in November who want to uphold the principles of a free society and place their constituents first, instead of ideology or re-election.

Patrick P. Musto