Governor Rendell: “I’m very optimistic that before Christmas we will have a property tax bill on my desk that I can sign”

Although Governor Rendell thinks the General Assembly will come up with a school property tax shift before December 25, Pennsylvanians should not be expecting much from the Harrisburg Santa Claus.

Remember: Simply changing the REVENUE source fails to address the real crisis in public education“IT’S THE SPENDING STUPID!” While lawmakers may come up with a plan to shift the tax burden from our property to our daily purchases, the proposals floating around the Capitol DO NOT implement the only solution to our SCHOOL SPENDING CRISIS — choice for parents and competition between schools. Choice and competition are the only incentives that can both improve quality and lower costs.

PA taxpayers outspend 46 other states (when adjusted for the cost of living), yet our students score in the bottom 5 on the SAT college entrance exam. Similar abysmal academic performance indicators are found on PA students’ NAEP and PSSA scores.

The reality is that there will never be enough money to satisfy the current system’s insatiable appetite to spend our tax money. [In part, this is due to the fact that the beneficiaries of higher taxes for schools are also the strongest and wealthiest special interest lobbies in Harrisburg.]

The ONLY solution to our SPENDING CRISIS is to introduce broad-based choice for consumers (parents and children) and competition among providers (public, private, religious, home, charter, etc.).

Unfortunately, reducing or even eliminating school property taxes is only flailing at the branches. In order to strike at the ROOT of the property tax problem in Pennsylvania, policymakers must address the SPENDING side of the equation. Otherwise, today’s PROPERTY TAX CRISIS will just pop up again in a few years as a SPENDING CRISIS in another form.