I am writing with my concerns about the past and proposed school tax increases in the context and spirit of Pa. Act 34, and in the principals of common sense, fiscal responsibility and morality.
The power to tax must be used wisely and with the utmost concern. It is an awesome power and a responsibility not to be taken lightly, no matter what the perceived benefit to a community. Yours is to educate Everyman, and not to compete with Episcopal Academy.
As if it were your way or “on the cheap” the only two options.
If I were a member of the Lower Merion School Board I would have to be absolutely certain that I had the backing of a sound majority of the taxpayers before I could compel them to pay for what I may deem necessary. I don’t believe that you have done this, and I further believe that you are avoiding hearing what you don’t want to hear. The only right thing to do, in the presence or not of any legislation, is to let the taxpayers have their say. I demand that you, as legislators in the United States of America, allow the amount of the tax you have and plan to levy, be approved by the people. Don’t hide behind this idea you have created that the election of the current school board is a mandate to tax and spend, spend, spend. I think there is some confusion on your part as to whom you are responsible. It is to us who pay dearly, not to the school administration.
You should also know that I am concerned about a backlash or revenge vote in any upcoming referendum and in future elections. Be careful that your actions today don’t cripple the School District for years to come because you have angered the already gutted taxpayer. The amount that you plan to spend on the Harriton High School project must be significantly reduced to comply with the total $150,000,000.00 budget originally put forth. Whether that amount didn’t include this or that is of no concern. That is the number you must stick to. You must also find every efficiency, to the benefit of the taxpayer, in your bloated budget.
My school taxes have quadrupled over the past seven years and I’ve had enough of it. The resentment among the taxpayers is unprecedented in Lower Merion, and it will have significant repercussions. After the attack on Pearl Harbor Admiral Yamamoto said “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”. He was quite right, yet the mistake has been made countless times before and since. If you try to bulldoze the taxpayer you may find him with a larger bulldozer, called the ballot.
James J. Doran