Pa. lawmakers report threats over property tax legislation, Grove says

Seth Grove

Seth Grove

Two members of the state House security force attended a town hall meeting for state Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, earlier this month, in response to reported threats over property tax legislation, Grove said Thursday.

“There’s some ire out there and some individuals out there who want it their way or the highway,” Grove said. “…. At first it was just insults.”

But Grove said online posts escalated and anonymous threatening mail was sent to state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, a Republican who represents parts of Centre and Mifflin counties.

Grove said one mailer included an article about a shooting at a Monroe County municipal meeting earlier this year, and it said Benninghoff needed to move House Bill 76 or “this is going to happen to you.”

Another mailer was a postcard that included the address for where Benninghoff stays in Harrisburg, and it mentioned all four of Benninghoff’s daughters, Grove said.

“It’s just wrong on so many levels to even talk about kids in that regard,” he said.

Grove said he didn’t receive any threatening mailers. He said lawmakers decided to report the threats in September and state Capitol Police are still investigating.

Grove’s property tax reform legislation, House Bill 1189, passed out of the state House Finance Committee on Sept. 23. Benninghoff is chairman of that committee.

The legislation passed the state House with a 149-46 vote on Oct. 2. Grove’s legislation would allow individual school districts to reduce or eliminate their property taxes and replace the funds dollar-for-dollar with an elimination tax.

Some property tax reform groups have instead supported House Bill 76, which would eliminate school property taxes statewide. That legislation has not passed out of the House.

Grove said there were no problems at the Oct. 10 town hall meeting in Dover that members of the House security force attended.

About Ed Mahon

County government and politics reporter at York Daily Record/Sunday News.
This entry was posted in 2013-14 legislative session and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Pa. lawmakers report threats over property tax legislation, Grove says

  1. Sharon Pollard says:

    The real question should be why do they feel threatened? I have never seen any threats of any kind during the meetings I have attended. Yet, I can tell you I feel threatened everyday SB76 is not passed! We are fighting for our Constitutional right to own and protect our property. Over taxation is a threat which as history has shown gave birth to this country. Our only weapon today us the voting booth. The real story should be the $1 billion in delinquent property taxes. Behind that $1 billion are the faces of people who have lost everything! If these politicians would put people ahead of politics and re- election this state would boom with the passage of SB76. Yet, once again in the 30 year history of school property tax elimination we get nothing.

  2. As a member of several conservative groups in Berks County I can say that behavior like this cannot and will not be tolerated. If any of us catch wind of who the knucklehead(s) is that is doing this we will personally see that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
    We all know that only the LEFT gets away with these sort of scare tactics. On the RIGHT this behavior is completely out of bounds.
    I too feel threatened by property taxes but not to the point that I, or any of my friends would threaten a legislator with anything except votes. Anything beyond that is criminal and should be fully prosecuted.

  3. Another Taxpayer says:

    If “Grove said he didn’t receive any threatening mailers…” and many of us saw and heard Benninghoff joke about the “wanted poster,” saying that he was going to keep it, why did Grove want to be interviewed for the paper to make it look like anyone who opposes him is a loose cannon?? People need to make up their own minds: HB1189 would entitle school boards to enact one or several other taxes, including “hidden” taxes such as business privilege and/or mercantile taxes, which would drive up costs to the consumer, and does nothing to stop the increases in school tax so, in a year or two, your school taxes could go back up where they are now, or higher, plus you have those additional taxes to pay. HB76 would be a one-time increase to sales tax (1%) and a one-time increase to P.I.T. (personal income tax) of 1.27% and eliminate school taxes completely. (once the debt as of December of 2012, which is typically 10% of the entire school budget, is gone – the debt stays in the school district that created it). Everyone would pay the same percentage in P.I.T. and sales tax. No longer would a lower income family pay a higher percentage than a higher income family would in taxes. It’s common sense.

  4. Greg Hamill says:

    This is just a bunch of Crap! I do not believe these threats were ever made. This is the start of Divide and Conquer. They will now start the campaign to paint anyone who supports SB 76 as a bunch of loose cannons and then hope nobody will listen to their message. Our elected officials are scared of this movement. They should embrace it but unfortunately their brains are not wired the same as common working folks. Remember folks, politicians can not spend anything unless they first take it away from someone else. Unfortunately they feel that they are entitled to what we EARN !! The tide is starting to change and the future is not looking very bright for these folks. Either they are going to get on board and start working for the citizens or their asses will be replaced come election day.

  5. John McCartney says:

    When the number of co-sponsors for HB 76 dramaticaly increased during July, those legislators opposed to the bill started to “pull out all the stops” to stall the bill. “Magically”, a number of organizations. e.g. PSEA, NFIB, PBA, etc, sent copies of letters, fraught with negative exaggerations and outright lies regarding HB & SB 76, to all legislators ostensibly to influence their decision to support the bill. Unwritten of course, was the threat that campaign funds would be reduced or disappear if the legislators did not comply. In the bowels of the Capitol, a small but powerful band of legislators knew they had to do something to appease the property owners who are being “squeezed” via the school tax and their financial supporters. The result was HB 1189 which, in a convoluted manner, addresses the school tax issue but in fact, not only does not change the current situation but makes it much worse. Come election time, those legislators who supported HB 1189 could then state, ” We tried to give you (the voters) something but it did not get the votes necessary to become law”. In this way, they “save face” with the voters and appease their campaign donors at the same time!! Meanwhile, the supporters of HB & SB 76 will not acquiesce to the slings and arrows of the contemptable band of legislators who are allowing themselves to crawl in the muck and mire of the gutter to maintain the status quo. Who are “losers” in the process? The entire State as: those who lose their homes secondary to the unconscionable school tax; the recent college graduates who leave PA with their skills to seek a more friendly tax environment; the businesses who cease to exist secondary to fewer customers who cannot afford to buy services and products; the unemployed who remain so secondary to fewer available jobs; the State itself as it attempts to function with less and less money flowing into its coffers; ect!!! Who will win? No one!! Not even that band of legislators who failed to use “common sense” which it appears is foreign to them. God help us all as we are sucked into the vortex of oblivion. Semper Fidelis, John J.

  6. Chuckie Hall says:

    Every news article and politician that has come out against HB/SB 76 has never once, shown any facts or proof that the Bill will not lift the burden of unaffordable taxes on the citizens of PA, while also funding the School System within a reasonable means. Those against HB/SB 76 are only upset because they will not be able to arbitrarily increase the taxes imposed on the taxpayers without having to justify and get approval from the citizens of PA. HB/SB 76 keeps the School System honest and keeping budgets within it’s means, instead of just throwing more money at a losing cause. I look forward to voting out the cronies in PA that are taking kickbacks and campaign money promises to demonize HB/SB 76. Just read the Bill and you will change your stance on how well written and thoughout the bill really is.

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