Rapp, Gabler, Oberlander Reiterate Pledge to Provide No Representation for Increased Taxation During State Capitol Protest
State Reps. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean), Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) and Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong) were among more than 30 fiscally conservative state lawmakers, state and national watchdog groups and radio talk show hosts that welcomed concerned Pennsylvania citizens who descended on Harrisburg for Tuesday’s all-day Pennsylvania State Capitol Taxpayers’ Protest.  

As a senior Republican member of the House Education Committee, Rapp primarily focused her comments on the governor’s overly expensive education funding legislation (House Bill 1493) and the Rendell administration’s non-legislative sanctioned $19 million graduation testing mandate.

“While I strongly oppose balancing the $3 billion and growing Rendell budget deficit by either tolling Interstate 80 or imposing yet another job-killing, business tax on the extraction of Marcellus Shale natural gas, I also take very seriously the responsibility of serving on a committee that largely determines the dollar by dollar appropriation for nearly 40 percent of every state budget,” said Rapp.  

“Just like the rest of the governor’s proposed 2009-10 state budget, the flawed educational funding formula contained in House Bill 1493 calls for a beyond fiscally irresponsible 10 percent spending increase, when this revenue level simply does not exist without imposing a massive $500 per person personal income tax increase on Pennsylvania’s working families. It also inequitably robs rural Pennsylvania school districts to keep over-paying Philadelphia’s school districts.  
“As far as the governor’s proposed graduation testing requirements go, if we’re going to spend an additional $20 million in revenue that we don’t have, it would make much greater sense to hire and retain more properly trained reading specialists to begin reading remediation in elementary school where there is much greater chance to make a difference. In any case, if the final 2009-10 state budget contains any broad-based tax or spending increases, the taxpaying residents of Warren, Forest and McKean counties can count on me to vote against it for the fifth consecutive year,” added Rapp.
Featured speakers during a Tuesday morning state Capitol Rotunda kickoff rally, which all three state lawmakers participated in, included: Al Bienstock, Citizens Against Higher Taxes; Josh Culling, National Taxpayers’ Union; Patrick Gleason, Americans for Tax Reform; Kevin Shivers, NFIB; David Taylor, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association; Susan Staub, Right to Work; Jeffrey Trimbath, The Heritage Foundation; Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring and many others.
“With all the special interests in Harrisburg trying to help themselves to more and more of the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars, I believe it is critically important to highlight the needs of hard-working taxpayers who pay the bills in this state,” said Gabler. “This administration in Harrisburg has taxed and spent with reckless abandon.  Now that money is tight, they want to scare Pennsylvanians with threats of gloom and doom if we refuse to spend more money than we have.  Today we stand as representatives of our constituents who are tired of high taxes and irresponsible spending.  It’s time that state government do what every household in this state is forced to do every day: live within our means.”
Most importantly, Rapp, Gabler and Oberlander are calling on local residents, commuters, business owners and others to continue voicing their opposition against any increase in the state personal income tax, tolling of I-80, the Marcellus Shale natural gas severance tax or any proposed tax, spending or fee increase by continuing to visit StateCapitolProtest.com.
“Rather than remaining in Harrisburg as the House prepares to debate the budget and work towards a solution to address the more than $3 billion budget deficit that his administration has created over the past six years, Governor Rendell is currently traveling across the state on another taxpayer-funded scavenger hunt, leaving no stone unturned or scare tactic unused, to justify his laundry list of economic recovery delaying tax increases,” said Oberlander. “Again, state government always has a choice between raising taxes or reducing them. Since it is impossible for Pennsylvania to tax, spend or borrow its way back to prosperity, the best answer, any member of this Legislature can give regarding a $3.1 billion personal income tax increase, resubmitting the I-80 highway tax proposal to the federal government, taxing the drilling of Marcellus Shale natural gas or any other tax increase is: No Representation for Increased Taxation.”
Reps. Kathy Rapp, Matt Gabler and Donna Oberlander
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Ty McCauslin
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 772-9979
Caucus Site: PAHouseGOP.com