Letter to the Editor: Outraged by Proposed Tax Hike
Oren Spiegler, of Upper St. Clair, writes a letter to the editor about the Upper St. Clair School Board's proposed tax increase.
To the editor:
It is outrageous, but not the least bit surprising that the infamous overtax and overspend Upper Saint Clair School Board has voted to increase the tax burden ... again ... by a whopping 5.7 percent, or 1.375 mills, this in order to create a surplus rather than to allow taxpayers to retain a small amount of their hard-earned money.
Board members Amy Billerbeck, Angela Petersen, Frank Kerber, and Buffy Hasko sought an even-higher hike of 1.5 mills; an amount that I trust would not cause any hardship in their family budgets.
Part of the reason that Upper St. Clair is subjected to ruinous rates of taxation both by the school board and the board of commissioners, is that a family breadwinner who is employed by an entity cannot seek a position on either board due to the time one must devote to the position and the need to be able to attend meetings that often extend well into the evening. Consequently, those who serve are, by and large, independent businesspeople or the homemaker spouses of such individuals: families that most members of society would consider to be among "the 1 percent"(or close to it). Such individuals have often demonstrated a stunning lack of empathy and identification with the middle class individual who must budget their limited income, those of us who will not enjoy a 5.7 percent wage boost this year (or any other year).
The message to those who pay the bills, when one strips away the genteel and dignified manner in which the awful news is delivered, is "drop dead."
For years, I have attempted to communicate with most of school board members on multiple occasions on the critical issue of taxation. No current school director has responded to any of my efforts. In their view, apparently, an informed, intelligent activist should be ignored if he or she disagrees with the path of using the police powers of government to destroy an overtaxed populace.
I give great credit to former board members Dina Fulmer and Russell Del Re, both of whom had the decency to engage me, Del Re engaging me in a lengthy telephone conversation in which he stated his objections to my position and method of communicating it, but in which he displayed the objectivity to acknowledge that I was not all wrong. Like thousands of others in the community, I was enraged when the board of commissioners approved a lavish, unaffordable recreation center/palace. I was able to develop not only a dialogue, but also a friendship with pro-recreation center former Commissioner Kenny Brown because he reached out to me, sticking his head in the mouth of the lion. His efforts resulted in our enjoying lunch together and leaving it with a significant level of respect for each other. The school board members who hide from their votes have a lot to learn from the few who have chosen dialogue over cowardice.
I find it amusing that many of the board members classify themselves as Republicans, and I would bet that most of them will vote against President Barack Obama in the 2012 general election due in large part to his expensive, big government model that has extended the overspend/bailout/"too big to fail" era ushered in by fake conservative George W. Bush. President Obama has more firmly placed the nation on a path to unsustainable debt that shall destroy us.
Neither the board members nor the Republican Committee of Upper St. Clair recognizes how local spending schemes mirror the policies of our nation's "leader." In Upper Saint Clair, one need only have an "R" after their name to be considered a card-carrying member in good standing of the party.
I congratulate the seven-member majority that has approved the latest strike at the heart of the community through a massive school tax increase. They have provided residents even more reason to look forward to the day that we get out and turn our homes over to those who do not care how much they must pay for the "privilege" of living in what has become an elite community strictly for the wealthy. When does squeezing every dime possible out of the taxpayers veer into the realm of theft? Some would say we reached that point long ago, but
their voices count for nothing here.
Upper St. Clair
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Editor's Note: The Upper St. Clair School Board will have two more meetings, June 11 and 18, before they are scheduled to vote on the final budget on June 20.
If you have a complaint, want a topic covered, want to publicly congratulate someone or have something else to say altogether, please send an email to Editor Becky Brindle at Becky.Brindle@patch.com as a Patch letter to the editor submission.
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