Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Township Supervisors Oppose House Republican Proposal To Raid Special Funds: Don’t Make Your Problem Our Problem

The PA State Association of Township Supervisors sent an email to all members of the House Tuesday urging them to oppose a House Republican plan to raid special funds and permanently redirect funds away from critical programs.
The text of the email follows--
Members of the Pennsylvania House Of Representatives--
House Bill 593 (PN 0625) is on the House Calendar for your consideration. The association opposes amendment AO3263 as it would permanently take critical funds from local governments as well as redirect funds to the state’s general fund through one-time transfers.
Moving these funds would force all municipalities to increase property taxes for 2018. Do not balance the state’s budget on the backs of local government!
Amendment AO3263 would permanently redirect money to the state’ general fund from an array of funds that would be detrimental to local governments. These funds are critical to fulfilling state mandates and providing essential public services such as police, fire, and public works.
We also take issue with many of the proposed one-time transfers that would redirect money from local governments to the state’s general fund.
The following highlights some of the permanent fund transfers to the state’s general fund that are critical municipal funding sources. This is not a complete list, but just a few examples of funding redirects that would be detrimental to local governments.
-- Municipal Pension Aid Funds: This is critical funding that was set up by the state. The state mandates the pension benefits that municipalities must provide to their police officers and this fund is designed to assist with providing these benefits and other pension obligations. The elimination of these funds would be devastating. We hope that lawmakers can look at the state’s pension crisis and realize that taking these funds from municipal pensions will leave them in the same boat. Do not exacerbate the current municipal pension crisis!
-- Volunteer Fire Relief Funds: This fund would be permanently redirected to the state’s general fund and would eliminate a critical funding source that helps ensure the continuation of fire and rescue services by volunteer fire companies. With the current volunteer shortage, our departments rely on these funds to fulfill basic equipment needs to keep them safe. We cannot afford to lost a penny from this fund!
-- Natural Gas Impact Fee: All the money currently collected under Act 13 of 2012 would be redistributed to the state’s general fund. Act 13 was not enacted to fix the state’s budget issues, but rather to ease the burden of this industry on municipalities. Municipalities are investing this money in their communities to sustain pre-industry quality of life and ease property tax burdens. Without this well-designed fee local taxpayers will need to pay for these current impacts and cleanup long after the industry is gone.
-- Recycling Fund: All of the current recycling fees would be redistributed to the state’s general fund permanently. Municipalities are mandated to provide recycling programs and these funds make these programs possible. Without these funds municipalities, will not be able to provide these mandated services without major property tax increases.
-- Multimodal Funds: Would redirect a significant portion of multimodal funding to the state’s general fund in addition to depleting a major portion of revenues currently in the fund. This funding was enacted as part of Act 89 of 2013 to fix state and local transportation infrastructure issues statewide. Using this money to fix the hole in the state budget is not responsible.
We ask that you join us in opposing A03263 when it is brought before the House. A vote for this amendment is a vote for a property tax increase on all Pennsylvanians as it is merely shifting the state’s budget woes onto municipalities.
Shifting this burden is not the answer. Do not make your problem our problem! If you would like to discuss this amendment further, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.
More And More Evidence And Opposition Piling Up:

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