What state Rep. Seth Grove has to say about county’s proposed 8.9 percent tax increase

I tweeted at State Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, during today’s York County commissioners meeting.

Here’s what Grove had to say about the county’s proposed 8.9 percent real estate tax increase — and about county officials saying they’ve been forced into this situation by state and federal cuts:

We had major federal cuts in the billions from stimulus funding expiring and we didn’t raise taxes.  We rolled up our sleeves and found a way to balance 2 budgets on time without any reserve funds (Rendell spent them all before he left office). 

We didn’t once blame anyone.  We dealt with the economic realities of our times and produced 2 budgets which matched those realities.

Raising taxes takes money out of the economy, and continues economic suppression.  Not raising taxes is the best way to spur the economy.  At the end of the day, it is their decision as elected officials to raise or not raise taxes.  They have to answer to voters just like every other elected official.

Tough times calls for tough leadership – playing the blame game isn’t leadership. Getting to work, thinking outside the box, and communicating with residents is.

Some ideas for County budgeting:

Opt into the Human Services Block Grant to provide more flexibility in their budget.  We also put language in the fiscal code which will reallocate unspent state dollars in human service funding to “at need counties” like York.  That revenue should be allocated in the 3rd quarter.

I for one would cut the cable TV off at the prison and refocus corrections resources to educate prisoners to ensure they are productive members of society upon their release and not fund prisoner playtime.

The other aspect of budgeting is funding programs that work.  Use data to drive budgetary decisions.  It is taxpayer accountability at its best. Implementing performance based budgeting is a great tool the Commissioners should implement this fiscal year to start looking the results of programs and try to minimize political budgeting.

I am in no way a York County budget specialist, but I know if I  would be a Commissioner, I would be working day and night to develop a no tax increase budget on behalf of the residents of York County.

About Ed Mahon

County government and politics reporter at York Daily Record/Sunday News.
This entry was posted in Pennsylvania State Government, Seth Grove, York County Government. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What state Rep. Seth Grove has to say about county’s proposed 8.9 percent tax increase

  1. Carl Lindquist says:

    As Rep. Grove states, he is clearly “in no way a York County budget specialist.”

    It’s clear Rep. Grove does not understand the impact of state decisions on county and other local governments. Instead of taking leadership and addressing the state’s financial problems, Rep. Grove and Gov. Corbett have passed the buck on tax increases to local taxpayers.

    How else do you explain, for example, cuts to mandated child protective services at a time when the demand for such services is at a peak? Should we simply stop investigating reports of child abuse?

    The state also made substantial cuts in funding for the 911 center. Does Rep. Grove think we should eliminate 911 dispatchers to make up for the reduction in state funding?

    I certainly don’t want to be put on hold if I have a life-threatening emergency.

    I agree with Rep. Grove’s assertion that “tough times call for tough leadership.” Rep. Grove should live by his own philosophy and make tough decisions at the state level instead of conveniently passing them down to local taxpayers. It’s easy to balance your own budget without a tax increase when you simply pass the cost on to others.

    Rep. Grove and other lawmakers might be able to learn a few things about leadership from York County. The Commissioners this year will not accept a pay increase. Rep. Grove and his colleagues, meanwhile, have granted themselves a jump of 2.2 percent . Even if they return or donate it, the raise still counts toward their pension benefits.

    York County is eliminating jobs, while the General Assembly remains one of the largest and most expensive in the United States.

    Rep. Grove suggests York County join the Human Services block grant program. While the idea in concept has merit, the state’s poorly planned roll-out (think Voter ID) left us with little choice but to opt out. There were myriad unanswered questions about how such a program would affect York County, which partners with Adams to jointly operate one program. The state failed to adequately address these types of situations and instead focused on one-county operations.

    Rep. Grove’s comments regarding TV in prison reflect a lack of knowledge about incarceration. Does he think that the state prisons offer no television service? Any rational person with a basic understanding of human nature recognizes that leaving hundreds of prisoners locked in a building without any entertainment would lead to serious problems. Plus, television service at the York County Prison is paid for by inmates, not taxpayers, using a commission that inmates pay when buying goods at the prison commissary.

    York County operates one of the best rehabilitative programs of any county in Pennsylvania. It has proven to reduce recidivism and help local prisoners become productive members of our community. Combine that with the strength of our widely recognized treatment courts, and York County is a statewide leader at reducing incarceration costs. We save taxpayers millions of dollars per year. The state should follow our lead in its own facilities.

    Instead of playing a shell game with taxpayers, we suggest that Rep. Grove take a leadership position on important issues such as property tax reform. He and others continue to make promises year after year during election season, but fail to follow through. Ultimately, the failure of the state to enact such meaningful reforms is at the heart of our taxation problem.

    – Carl Lindquist
    Director of Communications
    County of York, Pennsylvania

  2. Joe Hagan says:

    We must demand our local leaders (and state representatives) to tackle the ridiculousness of our broken property tax system. They’ve been promising change for years and have done little to nothing about it!

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