Tax Hoax Hokum

Tredyffrin Republicans are continuing their Great Earned Income Tax Hoax beyond election day. In a letter to the local press, Tredyffrin Twp. Republican Committee Chairman Michael Broadhurst and several of his precinct leaders offer no regrets for basely politicizing our school district’s search for honest budget-crisis solutions. Moreover, Broadhurst and TTRC also persist in falsely conjuring the board’s study of an EIT into a Democratic conspiracy.

The quickest way out of the TTRC fog and into square facts is simply hearing actual comments from 2 Republican leaders on the T/E school board– past president Betsy Fadem and chair of the board’s finance committee, Kevin Mahoney.

There are 2 core claims by Mr. Broadhurst in justifying his tax hoax during the recent election campaign:

From the Broadhurst letter, claim #1:

“In this context, the T/E School Board, under the leadership of a president who was the acknowledged leader of the Democratic ticket, began ‘studying’ the imposition of an EIT to ‘educate’ the public on the subject. Everyone understood that this process could result in the imposition of an EIT. In the midst of an election campaign, that process included multiple public meetings and a special meeting of the School Board to vote on whether to call a referendum on an EIT. It is hard to understand how one studies a new tax and ‘educates’ the public on it but does not support its imposition.”

By “president who was the acknowledged leader of the Democratic ticket,” Broadhurst means school board president Karen Cruickshank, a Democrat on the ballot for re-election. The Broadhurst sentences mis-characterize the board study, ignore the timeline for a process that started much earlier than Mrs. Cruickshank’s term as president, and falsely ascribe her as the driving force behind the tax study.

In contrast with Broadhurst’s claim, here is Republican board member Betsy Fadem’s factual explanation of the timeline for the tax study. Her comments are from the November 3 public meeting. (Ninety second audio file, requiring 1 MB download.)

In contrast with the TTRC tax demagoguery, here is a statement by board finance chair Kevin Mahoney about the board fairly following its non-partisan “fiduciary responsibility” to all citizens in undertaking the study. (1 minute audio, also from Nov. 3, less than 1 MB download.)

From the Broadhurst letter, claim #2:

“At the same time and in the pages of this newspaper, the Democratic candidates claimed that the School District could handle no more cuts without being ‘irreparably damaged’ and that situation facing the School District left only options such as eliminating busing and increasing class sizes. The Democratic position ignored numerous possibilities such as outsourcing custodial services to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, raising revenues with temporary fees for activities, and gradually drawing down on the School District’s $25-million fund balance (‘rainy-day fund’) until the State Legislature addresses the pension issue facing every public-school system in Pennsylvania. At the same time, the leader of the Democratic ticket supported the EIT ‘study’ process and all but one Democratic candidate (Ms. Wessels) failed to take opportunities to say that they would vote to end the EIT process.”

While again incorrect, these sentences are not as brazenly false as the Republican’s authorized campaign literature, which insisted the Democratic candidates “needed a new revenue stream …to pay for massive new spending.”

Democratic school board candidates’ positions were stated quite clearly on their websites, in their literature, their door-to-door conversations and in their public debate statements. After 2 years of belt tightening, their highest priority was a reduction in the looming pension liability expense, while seeking to minimize adverse impact from the program cuts remaining on the table. There was certainly no “plan” for any new spending. Broadhurst and his associates willfully chose to state otherwise.

Again, let’s let Republican leaders on the school board counter their party leaders’ falsehoods.

Here is finance chair Kevin Mahoney describing 3 reasons for the district’s budget condition. (2.5 minute audio, 2 MB download.)

Here is board past president Betsy Fadem answering the question of whether an earned income tax would guarantee an end to program cuts for the school district. (1.5 minute audio, 1 MB download.)

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