Over the past couple weeks, I’ve certainly traversed this state. More and more each day, Senate Bill 76 is becoming a household term in several parts of Pennsylvania. Early last week, I spoke with a business group in Murrysville. This smaller municipality is just east of Pittsburgh. The following evening, I spoke to a town hall in Erie. The eagerness and desire to learn brings out people from all walks of life. I can be in suburban Philadelphia or the valleys of mid-state Pennsylvania, however they all take time to learn more. It doesn’t matter where I am in Pennsylvania. On Thursday and Friday, I spoke to two different groups in southern Pittsburgh. I did have an interesting meeting with a State Senator on Thursday morning. As a strong proponent of visual communication, I found the discussion interesting. He appeared quite uncomfortable discussing the issue. He was quick to judge, but I made sure the issue wasn’t treated unfairly. In the end, I believe he understood that we were going to stand our ground. Residents in his very district want to see Senate Bill 76 pass, and he needs to recognize that. This week I had some new opportunities. I spoke at the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® Public Policy and Political Advocacy Seminar. I was joined by Senators David Argall and Mike Folmer. We discussed the bill, and our grassroots efforts. You can read more about the discussion in this link. I also had the opportunity to meet with countless other legislators at the Capitol about this bill. In the coming weeks, residents from the Scranton area will hear even more about this bill. On Wednesday, I did two radio interviews that will be aired in May. Yesterday, I met with more residents from Lancaster. We press forward!
Last week, I spoke with two different Rotary Clubs in southeastern Pennsylvania. This article briefly states my presence at one of these clubs. I’m shown in this photograph with Berks County Recorder of Deeds Fred Sheeler. Fred is running for the State Legislature this year. He was the program chair for last week’s Rotary Club. Thanks to Fred for inviting me to speak at this event. This bill allows me to educate all people about the importance of real property tax reform. Further, I pride myself on working with elected officials on both sides of the aisle. I’ll share some updates in the coming days about the progress made this week in western Pennsylvania.
On March 14th, I had the opportunity to speak with Altoona CBS affiliate WTAJ news about Senate Bill 76. Although the interview was brief, I gave a synopsis of this bill. If one thing can be taken from this interview, it’s that Pennsylvania residents want to see real property tax reform. Too many legislators propose legislation that wouldn’t solve the growing tax burden. However, these very same legislators are receiving calls day after day asking them to support Senate Bill 76. In short, this legislation is true property tax reform. Schools will be fully funded under this plan, and residents will see tax relief. Click here to watch the video.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to a packed room of REALTORS®, residents, school board members, state legislators and many more in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The event was covered by the local newspaper in the area. The article can be read by clicking here. In short, several great questions were raised by members and legislators alike. I shared with everyone that this bill would provide positive ripple effects in our state’s economy. The message was seen with excitement, so we want to channel that positive energy forward. Earlier in the week, I shared a similar message with residents in the Pittsburgh area. Lastly, I did a TV interview with Altoona CBS affiliate WTAJ yesterday afternoon. Once it airs, I will post the footage on this site.
Individuals visiting ChuckLiedike.com know that this website isn’t kept as a blog. I simply like to share stories, photos and articles of different events. As much as I would like to update this site more often, sometimes timing isn’t always available! The latter half of February was quite eventful. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with residents in Town Halls and round tables about Senate Bill 76. Although we’re making significant progress in getting this message to the voters, it’s incredible to truly feel the attitudes shared by Pennsylvania voters. They are fed up with state government. They are tired of the federal and local governments, too. Polls show that pessimism is again at an all-time high. They simply feel that elected officials aren’t listening to them. Fortunately, voters are excited about the possibilities created by the Property Tax Independence Act. Although voters don’t trust Harrisburg, residents know that we must push this issue forward. By simply not ceasing, we can make this bill a reality! Accountability is needed, and I believe residents are ready to take a stand. The above photo was taken via a camera phone, as you can clearly see from the quality. However, it includes me at a Town Hall meeting in Carbon County with Senator David Argall (prime sponsor of Senate Bill 76) and Representative Doyle Heffley. The Times News article of the event can be found here.
Benjamin Franklin once stated that there are only two things certain in life: “death and taxes”. If I can boldly modify that statement, I would include a third: snow! Pennsylvanians are bracing for several more inches of snow expected to hit our region overnight. Although the snow has been endless, it hasn’t impacted our grassroots efforts for Senate Bill 76. In the past two weeks, we have continued to educate people about real property tax reform. I have attended round table discussions and office meetings to inform residents about the components of the bill. I’m looking forward to more Town Hall meetings taking place in the next several weeks. These meetings give me an opportunity to reach a larger audience. However, large or small, each meeting can provide true grassroots results. Make it happen…snow or sun!
Over the past several days, I have been traveling the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Late last week, I met with a State Senator who had concerns about Senate Bill 76. After some time discussing the issue further with him, he became very receptive to the bill. He agreed to sit down with our economist to discuss the numbers further. Additionally, he made it clear that he is very open to the bill. On Monday, I visited our State Capitol. While in Harrisburg, I had the opportunity to sit down with seven legislators opposed to Senate Bill 76. It was my goal to hear concerns about this bill. Although they made some good points, I was disappointed that they didn’t offer practical solutions. Daily, I hear from residents suffering from high taxes. The system is broken. Unfortunately, too many legislators are simply not working together to find an answer. We will keep trying though. Later that day, I gave a presentation to Realtors about the progress we have made with Real Reform 76. The excitement was overwhelming! On Tuesday evening, I was already on the other side of the state. I spoke with a group of individuals just north of Pittsburgh. Their area has grown tremendously over the past few decades, and they recognize that this issue impacts them. On Wednesday, local Realtors from Butler County and I did a radio show. We had an hour to speak with callers on WISR’s It’s Your Turn with Dave Malarkey about Senate Bill 76. That evening, I gave a full presentation on the components of the bill during a town hall meeting. We were fortunate to see 150 people come out for this town hall. Although there will always be opponents to any legislation, we are certainly making plenty of progress! Moving forward…
Politicians like to keep things quiet during Christmas and New Years. Of course, that isn’t always the case on the federal and state levels. However, Real Reform 76 did take a week-long hiatus. On January 2nd, we started back up again at full speed. This week alone, I spent considerable time in Philadelphia, the Poconos, York, Harrisburg and Lebanon. In order for an effective grassroots campaign to take shape, most of our time must be spent educating the populace. President Thomas Jefferson once stated, "an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people." As I travel different areas of the Commonwealth, it’s evident that people need to learn more about Senate Bill 76. School property tax is strongly desired in every region of Pennsylvania, but confusion continues to persist. Our time in Philadelphia was spent with real estate professionals interested in learning more about the bill. I traveled up to the Poconos later that evening. I briefly explained the importance of real property tax reform via Senate Bill 76 to a room full of builders. Their passion for this bill was exciting. In traveling to the City of York, I knew residents of the area were well aware of competing property tax reform legislation. The 200 people in the crowd recognized that Senate Bill 76 offers the only real solution to property tax reform in Pennsylvania. Other legislation offers school boards to create and increase other taxes to offset the property tax burden. Realistically, school taxes will not be decreased, if the competing bill were to pass. Rather, other taxes will be created to pay for additional school programs. This competing bill is not appropriate for Pennsylvania residents. In Harrisburg, supporters of Senate Bill 76 met to discuss our grassroots strategy and plan for the weeks ahead. Lastly, I spoke at a Town Hall in Lebanon County. The local 9-12 group gave me the opportunity to educate attendees about the bill. Following, co-sponsoring legislators joined me on stage, along with the President of the Pennsylvania Taxpayer Cyber Coalition. We all answered questions posed by the attendees.
We’re certainly not taking our foot off the gas now. Legislators recognize that we mean business. We get phone calls daily from Senators and Representatives wanting to learn more about this bill. Many are excited about our advocacy, while others are uninterested in our efforts. All legislators will continue getting phone calls from their constituents though. Pennsylvanians want real property tax reform, and they want it now.