An Open Letter to the People of Pennsylvania
An Open Letter to the People of Pennsylvania:
Concerning Certain Members of the State Assembly Making War on Children
November 17, 2015
Joan Duvall-Flynn, ED.D.
NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference
Certain State Assembly members in leadership in Harrisburg are very worried that we Pennsylvanians do not have enough wine and spirits – take that to mean hard liquor – to drink and that we cannot access it readily enough! Apparently, even give the heroine epidemic; we are not getting “high” enough. One member of the House is so concerned about this that he is seeking co-sponsorship on legislation to make sure that we can drink more.
Such lawmakers are not, however, concerned about the many children of Pennsylvania who do not have adequate resources to get a thorough education and prepare for their futures. In fact, these folks have done all they can to prevent meeting the state’s obligation to its children. They don’t want to fund early childhood education and yet seek to manipulate the people about being able to put the needed $410 million dollars into basic education.
Certain State Assembly members want to cut off the employment opportunities of workers in the state liquor business and to throw away the $500 million in profit revenue that flows into the state coffers each year from the sale of wine and spirits. They intend to lay the burden of that lost money onto the backs of “Joe” and “Sue” citizen – who will then have to buy these spirits from minimum wage or part-time workers who will decide if you look younger than 35 years old and whether to card you. The plan is for the profits on the sell of alcohol to go to a “free market” businessperson to make him/her rich and not to the state treasury to help support government agencies and the schools.
These certain lawmakers in leadership in Harrisburg are attacking our way of life. They plan to destroy local control of school districts through a legislative proposal to eliminate property tax in Pennsylvania. They think older citizens, 80% of us do not have children in school, don’t care about public education and will jump at a chance to not support it. These law makers believe we will sanction their eliminating our democratic traditions because we are older and don’t care about the next generation or the future of Pennsylvania. They believe we will sell off democracy.
If the elimination of property tax is achieved (Senate Bill 76), then local communities will have no standing to speak concerning the traditional public schools that most of our children attend. That will make state take-over easy for districts that have been identified as distressed or low performing. But don’t get comfortable charter school parents; they have also come after your voice by proposing legislation that eliminates parent voices from the decisions of “free market” owners of your charter schools.
In short, lawmakers in leadership in Harrisburg are making war against our children, our neighbors and our participatory democracy. They want to increase the sales tax and make Joe and Sue pay the taxes that should be paid by the oil drillers who are benefiting from the natural resources of Pennsylvania (which by the way, belong to Joe and Sue).
The proposals and policies being put forth by certain lawmakers in leadership in Harrisburg are holding this commonwealth hostage. These lawmakers have the nerve to take their pay from you and use the power you gave them to destroy your neighbors’ jobs, rob your children of their future, and make you pay for big business to make a profit. One has to wonder, why do these lawmakers feel safe that they can do this? Would you vote for people who will take their pay from you, then use it to destroy democracy and make war on children?
Call your state representative and your state senator today! Tell them that you know democracy is not free. Tell them you believe in paying your taxes, but that there should be property tax relief that is distributed fairly in a way that truly helps the renters and homeowners who carry the heaviest burdens. Tell them it is wrong to create policy to force hard working Pennsylvanians to pay more for good and services through increased sales tax while oil drillers continue to get a free ride on the hardworking backs of Joe and Sue citizen. Tell them that their determination to protect big business by burdening workers is holding back the progress of Pennsylvania and raining down turmoil and hardship on Joe and Sue and their kids.
Joan Duvall-Flynn is President of NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference.