This letter appeared in Main Line Suburban Life on Thursday, December 1, 2011.
To the Editor:
In attacking the Nov. 16 opinion piece, “The Great EIT Hoax – Politics As Usual or Just Plain Wrong,” several Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee (TTRC) members showed they are in complete denial about their party’s conduct in the 2011 election. Mr. Broadhurst and his fellow partisans should remember the maxim that you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.
Despite the fact that all Democratic candidates took a clear position against imposing an Earned Income Tax (EIT), the TTRC claimed: 1) the Democrats were behind the effort to study the issue and 2) studying the EIT is equivalent to voting for it. BOTH ARE FLAT WRONG.
Fact: The decision to study the impact of an EIT was brought to you by Republicans. The Republican-dominated School Board (6 Republicans, 3 Democrats) voted to impanel the Tax Study Group (TSG) in October 2010 when a Republican, Betsy Fadem, was president of the board. Republican Kevin Mahoney, the School Board’s Finance Chair, clearly stated that the board has a fiduciary duty to transparently present the financial condition of the school district. It is the board’s responsibility to lay out all options available to manage the upcoming budget imbalances.
Fact: In October 2010, on the matter of notifying the township that an EIT could be put on the ballot in May 2011, Democrats Karen Cruickshank and Kevin Buraks voted AGAINST moving the EIT to referendum, while Republican Kevin Mahoney voted in favor of it.
Fact: In November 2011, after hearing the report of the TSG, the school board again voted on whether to place an EIT on the ballot in April 2012. Again, Democrats Karen Cruickshank and Kevin Buraks voted against the EIT, while Republican Kevin Mahoney voted to retain the option.
Fiction: TTRC literature and the TTRC’s Nov. 23 opinion piece insisted that the Democratic candidates “needed a new revenue stream … to pay for massive new spending.”
Fact: There was no “plan” for any new spending. Our highest priority was a reduction in the pension liability expense, to minimize all the other program cuts that remain on the table. Our candidates’ positions were stated quite clearly on our Web sites, in our literature, our canvassing and our debate positions.
There’s no question that misinformation and fear worked in the TTRC’s favor. On Election Day there were numerous reports by election judges and poll workers of voters asking where the “tax question” was on the ballot. Many were senior citizens who would not be affected by an income-based tax but had been led to believe they would be.
The election is over. We remain deeply committed to maintaining the quality of our schools. We urge others disappointed with the TTRC’s tactics to join our efforts to promote real and honest discussion of the challenges facing our community.
Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee members