Letters to the Editor: March 15, 2017

Where does the money go?

The city has sunk to a new low. The Tax Dis­cov­ery Unit is en­for­cing a 1967 law ob­lig­at­ing res­id­ents earn­ing a di­vidend in­come on in­vest­ments to pay a city in­come tax. The mon­ies col­lec­ted are sup­ple­ment­ing the school tax. 

Ac­cord­ing to Dis­cov­ery Unit em­ploy­ees, this vir­tu­ally un­known tax is the re­spons­ib­il­ity of the tax­pay­er to file their earn­ings with the city. How can this tax be re­por­ted if res­id­ents are un­aware of its ex­ist­ence? Res­id­ents are re­ceiv­ing let­ters, with a for­mu­lated tax table, go­ing back five years to re­port in­vest­ment in­come. If the sum is paid with­in 30 days, the 74.75 per­cent pen­alty will be waived. The city school sys­tem is a des­per­ate for money and a loop­hole was dis­covered to fun­nel money to this sys­tem.

My fath­er is dis­abled and my moth­er re­cently re­tired. They lived their en­tire life in this city, put five chil­dren through school and nev­er missed pay­ing a bill. Their debt to the city has been paid in full. 

Cit­izens most af­fected by this tax col­lec­tion will be seni­ors. In many cases, they pay real es­tate taxes and are forced to pay an ad­di­tion­al amount on their in­vest­ment in­come. This group worked hard and in­ves­ted any ex­pend­able in­come to se­cure their fu­ture in re­tire­ment. It is an­oth­er ex­ample of the city’s wide­spread cor­rup­tion and strong-arm tac­tics. 

Thank you, Phil­adelphia, for giv­ing my fam­ily an­oth­er reas­on to move out of the city. It would have been nice to have a warn­ing about this un­ex­pec­ted no­tice and ex­pense.

Mary­ann Rush

Holmes­burg

Pa. must close deadly loop­hole

The shoot­ing ram­page at the Fort Laud­er­dale air­port is a tra­gic ex­ample of the need to clear up Pennsylvania’s law re­lat­ing to in­vol­un­tary men­tal health treat­ment and pos­sess­ing fire­arms.

I have in­tro­duced le­gis­la­tion (H.B. 22) to re­solve the cur­rent am­bi­gu­ity in Pennsylvania law on in­vol­un­tary men­tal health treat­ment and pos­sess­ing guns. Un­der cur­rent law, people who have been in­vol­un­tar­ily com­mit­ted for men­tal health treat­ment are in­eligible to pos­sess a gun – un­less the treat­ment ordered is on an out­pa­tient basis. 

I be­lieve that, re­gard­less of wheth­er in­vol­un­tary men­tal health treat­ment is in­pa­tient or out­pa­tient, people un­der these in­vol­un­tary treat­ment or­ders should be barred from pos­sess­ing a gun un­til the court de­term­ines that they are no longer a danger to them­selves or oth­er people.

The in­tent of my bill is to pre­vent or lim­it harm to fam­ily mem­bers, the gen­er­al pub­lic and law en­force­ment of­ficers, as well as pre­vent­ing men­tally ill people from caus­ing ser­i­ous bod­ily harm to them­selves. 

State Rep. Mike O’Bri­en

175th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Our gas taxes are too high

Re­cently, our es­teemed le­gis­lat­ors ap­proved an eight cents tax in­crease on a gal­lon of gas. This now raises us to 78 cents per gal­lon, mak­ing us the highest in the na­tion. Sev­er­al years ago, we were burdened with a 25-cents-a gal­lon in­crease. 

At the cur­rent pace, we will soon be at $1 tax per gal­lon. Kind of makes  me feel warm and fuzzy. 

I did not re­search our turn­pike tolls com­pared to oth­er states but I would ven­ture to say we are striv­ing for a top spot after the last set of in­creases.

A week ago, I asked a state le­gis­lat­or if the high­way fund has ever been audited. 

His re­sponse is, I do not know but will get back to you. 

Still wait­ing pa­tiently for his reply. It is time for us to con­tact our sen­at­ors and rep­res­ent­at­ives and de­mand an audit by an in­de­pend­ent out­side aud­it­or. 

In fact, it should be law that all the state and city en­tit­ies be sub­ject to out­side audit. Speak­ing for my­self, it would not sat­is­fy  me if the state and city audit their own books.

It is time we de­mand ac­count­ab­il­ity from Har­ris­burg but it will not hap­pen un­less we take ac­tion!

An­thony Dello Russo

Fox Chase

School dis­trict has money

Fi­nally, the school dis­trict has placed a con­tract of­fer to the PFT that will cost about $100 mil­lion over five years.  Ob­vi­ously, PFT Pres­id­ent Jerry Jordan has re­fused to put it be­fore his mem­bers.

Su­per­in­tend­ent Wil­li­am Hite claims that this is all the money he has, oth­er­wise he would have offered more. On April 22, 2016, the school dis­trict re­por­ted a one-year’s sur­plus of $134.5 mil­lion, which is more than the en­tire five-year cost of Hite’s of­fer.

On March 24, 2016,  the school dis­trict stated it wants to make new in­vest­ments of $440 mil­lion. The school dis­trict just gave raises of 2 per­cent to its non-rep­res­en­ted per­son­nel. Is it no won­der some people are say­ing, “Don’t be­lieve the Hite.”

 May­er Krain

Mod­ena Park

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