Letters to the Editor: March 15, 2017

Where does the money go?

The city has sunk to a new low. The Tax Discovery Unit is enforcing a 1967 law obligating residents earning a dividend income on investments to pay a city income tax. The monies collected are supplementing the school tax. 

According to Discovery Unit employees, this virtually unknown tax is the responsibility of the taxpayer to file their earnings with the city. How can this tax be reported if residents are unaware of its existence? Residents are receiving letters, with a formulated tax table, going back five years to report investment income. If the sum is paid within 30 days, the 74.75 percent penalty will be waived. The city school system is a desperate for money and a loophole was discovered to funnel money to this system.

My father is disabled and my mother recently retired. They lived their entire life in this city, put five children through school and never missed paying a bill. Their debt to the city has been paid in full. 

Citizens most affected by this tax collection will be seniors. In many cases, they pay real estate taxes and are forced to pay an additional amount on their investment income. This group worked hard and invested any expendable income to secure their future in retirement. It is another example of the city’s widespread corruption and strong-arm tactics. 

Thank you, Philadelphia, for giving my family another reason to move out of the city. It would have been nice to have a warning about this unexpected notice and expense.

Maryann Rush

Holmesburg

Pa. must close deadly loophole

The shooting rampage at the Fort Lauderdale airport is a tragic example of the need to clear up Pennsylvania’s law relating to involuntary mental health treatment and possessing firearms.

I have introduced legislation (H.B. 22) to resolve the current ambiguity in Pennsylvania law on involuntary mental health treatment and possessing guns. Under current law, people who have been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment are ineligible to possess a gun – unless the treatment ordered is on an outpatient basis. 

I believe that, regardless of whether involuntary mental health treatment is inpatient or outpatient, people under these involuntary treatment orders should be barred from possessing a gun until the court determines that they are no longer a danger to themselves or other people.

The intent of my bill is to prevent or limit harm to family members, the general public and law enforcement officers, as well as preventing mentally ill people from causing serious bodily harm to themselves. 

State Rep. Mike O’Brien

175th Legislative District

Our gas taxes are too high

Recently, our esteemed legislators approved an eight cents tax increase on a gallon of gas. This now raises us to 78 cents per gallon, making us the highest in the nation. Several years ago, we were burdened with a 25-cents-a gallon increase. 

At the current pace, we will soon be at $1 tax per gallon. Kind of makes  me feel warm and fuzzy. 

I did not research our turnpike tolls compared to other states but I would venture to say we are striving for a top spot after the last set of increases.

A week ago, I asked a state legislator if the highway fund has ever been audited. 

His response is, I do not know but will get back to you. 

Still waiting patiently for his reply. It is time for us to contact our senators and representatives and demand an audit by an independent outside auditor. 

In fact, it should be law that all the state and city entities be subject to outside audit. Speaking for myself, it would not satisfy  me if the state and city audit their own books.

It is time we demand accountability from Harrisburg but it will not happen unless we take action!

Anthony Dello Russo

Fox Chase

School district has money

Finally, the school district has placed a contract offer to the PFT that will cost about $100 million over five years.  Obviously, PFT President Jerry Jordan has refused to put it before his members.

Superintendent William Hite claims that this is all the money he has, otherwise he would have offered more. On April 22, 2016, the school district reported a one-year’s surplus of $134.5 million, which is more than the entire five-year cost of Hite’s offer.

On March 24, 2016,  the school district stated it wants to make new investments of $440 million. The school district just gave raises of 2 percent to its non-represented personnel. Is it no wonder some people are saying, “Don’t believe the Hite.”

 Mayer Krain

Modena Park