The end of budget season in Harrisburg is upon us meaning politicians are in the final throes of dividing up your taxpayer money and even better they’re working on how to get even more of it from you in the form of tax increases.
Outraged? You should be. I bet you’re looking for someone to blame. Well there is someone one. Yep – just one person is responsible for this. Just one and here’s who it is…YOU.
Ok – you, me and everybody else that isn’t on the phone every day with their state senator and state rep telling them they want less government – not more.
Our elected officials work for us. We all know that. But what we tend to forget is that our civic responsibility DOES NOT end at the ballot box. We must remain educated and engaged in the democratic process 365 days a year in order for our system of representative democracy to work. If we do not, we are complicit in the mess we now find ourselves in.
And make no mistake about it friends, we are in a mess. Lobbyists and local officials galore are scrambling in Harrisburg to ensure they get their piece of the pie before the session ends and the state budget is decided. The perfect example of this is School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. Mayor Nutter and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams who have announced a new school tax plan – that includes raising taxes on cigarettes and liquor by the drink in Philadelphia – to help raise funds for the ailing school district.
Another tax to go the failing Philadelphia school district that refuses to enact any reforms that take on the government sector unions abuses or help the actual students in those schools?! The entire state is going to bail out Philly again? Come on! It’s not your or my job to prop up adults who continue to fail children or a city – that wants to tax it’s way out of failure. As a working mom and a Philly native – I say no to raising taxes on anything to bail out the Philly School District from their own mistakes.
But I can’t say it to myself and I can’t say it alone. I’ve got to get up, wake up and make a call. Come on! It’s not that hard! Don’t know who your state rep or senator is? Google it, call 411 – be old fashioned – go to the library and look it up. Do whatever but call those guys and tell them NO. You do not want more taxes. No you DO not want to bail out the Philly schools especially when the money is not helping the kids.
We have to break the cycle. But we all have to work together to get it done. We cannot show up on Election Day, send people to Harrisburg and leave them unattended the rest of the year. We must remain vigilant if we are going to leave our children and grandchildren anything more than a mountain of debt.
So the next time you feel prone to complaining about business as usual in Harrisburg, take a minute and ask yourself – when was the last time you called or emailed your elected officials? When was the last time you wrote a letter to the editor? When was the last time you did anything other than complain about the mess we are in?!
If the system if going to change, we are going to have to change it. We, the people, are responsible for the mess we are in. But the good news is Americans are over-achievers and we know a thing or two about overcoming. We can do better. We just have to do the work and be active citizens 365 days a year.
Follow Jennifer Stefano on twitter @stefanospeaks or check out americansforproperity.org. She is a regular commentator on Lincoln Radio Journal. www.lincolnradiojournal.com