CEPTA January Meeting – How PA property tax elimination works

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“How PA property tax elimination works”

Come out and find out the difference.

Should public schools be funded by property taxes or by sales and income tax changes?

Explained by Mr. David Baldinger


DATE: Tuesday, January 20th. , 2015

TIME: Doors open at 7:15 and meeting starts at 7:30 PM

PLACE: Fire company #1, 50 S. 6th St. Emmaus, PA 18049 corner of 6th & Broad Sts.

FOR DIRECTIONS click here.

All meetings are free and open to all the public. Please invite a friend.


Pennsylvania’s two pension systems, the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) and State Employees Retirement System (SERS), are underfunded by no less than $50 billion, using the most optimistic calculations. Increasing the burden on you, the taxpayer until a solution is passed through legislation.


Click link below to get a good explanation on the public pension crisis in PA



If $50 billion doesn’t sound scary enough, consider this, it isn’t going anywhere but up, up and away until real pension reform legislation is passed. We need to have meaningful discussion and action to prevent a total melt down.

Mr. Baldinger will explain how he feels eliminating the current property tax system we use to presently fund our public schools can be better handled by slight changes to our sales and income taxes. The biggest benefit he stresses is that the government will no longer be able to use inability to pay property taxes to force a homeowner to lose their home due to foreclosure. Find out why the local property taxes always seem to increase at such a quick pace and how these changes will help force the State legislators to address the issues of fair school funding.


See link below and find out about the presenter and his organization


Property taxes, which are used to fund the school system and the pensions for PSERS, are going to sky rocket for the next ten years mostly due to this $50 billion and climbing pension crisis. The money used to fund these pensions is money that is directly being taken away from education spending.

So bring a friend, come out to find out how you can learn about the issues and better understand the choices necessary to make changes that will benefit you.


We hope our meetings are interesting, helpful and encourage you to become active and involved.

C.E.P.T.A. is always looking for new members and would enjoy your help, input and questions.

If you would like to view videos of past meetings go to: https://ceptapa.wordpress.com/

Light refreshments will be available.

Have a question? Please call 610-965-3556 or E-mail- ceptapa@gmail.com


CEPTA “Public Union Reform” Meeting Highlights

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CEPTA’s meeting on “Public Union Reform” was another well attended event and our guest speaker, Mr. Simon Campbell, was his usual self; well energized, on point, and able to answer all the audience questions and there were a lot of audience questions. His web site is https://www.facebook.com/paunionreform

Mr. Campbell’s main points at the meeting were:

A) Teacher union dues are collected for the PSEA (PA State Education Association), the teachers union by the school districts. The union dues are made up of two parts; the first, about 80% is the basic due for the services the union provides to the individuals in the union, the second part ~20% is money the union uses for political reasons like lobbying Harrisburg and Washington to advocate for the union.
In order to collect these dues, the school district expends public funds. Listen to how Mr. Simon Campbell suggests we can save money by negotiating this out of the union contracts. This would require the unions collect their own dues and not have the school districts pay to do the unions work. http://mediatrackers.org/pennsylvania/2013/10/18/nfib-pennsylvania-calls-end-automatic-dues-deductions

B) Right to Work access- This is an idea in which individuals would not be forced to join a union in order to be employed. Also, individuals who work in a union environment would not be forced to pay union dues and would be free to negotiate their own contracts. Many supporters believe if Pennsylvania passes Right to Work legislation it will return the wage scale to be more market driven and merit based instead of a one size fits all scheme, as well as attract more companies to our state . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law

C) The massively underfunded, by over $45 billion, PA State public union pensions are crippling our school district and state budgets and could cause some districts to go broke. We need to have our legislature take on the responsibility to correct this unsustainable state of affairs http://www.districtadministration.com/article/are-bankrupt-cities-foreshadowing-future-schools

CEPTA was fortunate to have as an attendee in the audience Mr. Rich Shuker; Mr. Shuker was guest speaker at last month’s CEPTA event on “SB/HB 76 Property Tax Elimination”. We asked him to give a 10 minute update on how this bill is doing in our legislature and he was happy to give that update. Mr. Shuker talked with many legislators in both the House and Senate and said they are working together to amend their concerns and he had a very positive outlook that this bill will make it to a vote in the near future. Here’s his site you can go to and learn how this bill will affect you the taxpayer. http://eyesonpa.com/property-tax-independence-act

I hope you’ll take a look at the video and consider coming out to see one of our future C.E.P.T.A. events soon. Please consider joining us and giving your input on how we can work together to solve issues that affect our taxes.

John Donches
President C.E.P.T.A.


guest presenter Simon Campbell


guest presenter Simon Campbell 2

CEPTA November Meeting – Public Union Reform with Simon Campbell


Date- Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
Location- Fire Company #1, 6th & Broad St., Emmaus
Time- 7:30-9:30 PM

Speaker: Mr. Simon Campbell
Mr. Campbell is a Pennsbury school district board member and a very vocal proponent of public union reform.
He is a very interesting and dynamic speaker that can explain a concept in a very articulate manner. He has spoken on a varied array of subjects in front of distinguished audiences around our State on radio, TV and in public forums like C.E.P.T.A.

Our CEPTA event for November “Public Union Reform” dovetails with our previous month’s meeting “Property Tax Elimination”. Mr. Campbell will discuss the expected increases in taxes due to the rapid escalations that are expected to replenish the underfunded public pension funds. The most recent account of the state’s two major pensions shows they are underfunded by a combined $47 billion, and this assumes the funds will grow by 7.5% annually. Funding these pensions will cause increases in all taxes, including school taxes, just to start to close this gap. Eventually every dollar of school tax increase may go just to fund pension obligations and teacher contracted raises and benefits.
Simon Campbell thinks he has a solution to the ever growing tax increases due to public employee contracted obligation. If you think your taxes are too high and want to find out how you can help control them come out and listen and ask questions of our presenter and see for yourself if it’s possible.


CEPTA Property Tax Elimination Meeting Informative to Many

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CEPTA hosted a really good meeting on October 15th. The meeting was well attended, with over 55 people in attendance to hear the presentation. We had our new banner up front right alongside the US flag so there was plenty of color to go along with seriousness and timeliness of our topic for this month. We had a presenter from the Reading area, Mr. Rich Shuker, come visit us to talk about HB/SB 76 or as they are better known “The Property Tax Elimination or Property Tax independence Act” . This bill would eliminate the school portion of your property tax and replace it with an increase in the sales and income tax. The PA sales tax would increase from the current 6% to 7% and include an expanded list of taxable items, however would not tax food at all or clothing under the cost of $50.00. The state personal income tax would increase from 3.07% to 4.34%. Mr. Shuker is a financial broker in business since the 80’s and has followed this legislation for many years, since it was first sponsored in legislation by Pa. House Representative Sam Rohrer back in 2008 http://ptcc.us/whatneedstohappen.htm and has been with us in one form or another to the current HB/SB 76.
Mr. Shuker is a member of an organization called “Eyes On PA” and their web site is http://eyesonpa.com/property-tax-independence-act where you can access all kinds of current articles, facts and videos on this specific subject and others that may strike your interest. Check their site out and Mr. Shuker told me if there are any questions to please send them through their site and they will get back with an answer and verifying data to support their responses. I would encourage everyone to please get involved and send those questions so we can all become more informed.
Just recently the PA Association of Realtors has signed on in support of this legislation and will be lobbying for its passage. Here’s the link to the PA Assoc. of Realtors http://www.parealtor.org/property-tax-reform/ and their September 16th, 2013 Power Point presentation http://www.parealtor.org/clientuploads/Legislative/PDF/AEG-Presentation-to-PARLegCmte-091513.pdf

Some points of interest
1. Currently there are two taxing bodies; the State and Local School Boards. Independent of each other they keep increasing our tax burden for school funding. If this bill would pass it would put the responsibility on the State to come up with the money to fund our educational system. That is actually where our PA constitution says it belongs. The local school board would no longer have the responsibility to fund the unfunded mandates handed down from the State legislature. Meaning that if the State passes a mandate they will need to fund it. This leaves the local school board with the important responsibility of ensuring their school district improves their educational performance.

Public School System Section 14. The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.

2. We all get old and most of us end up on fixed income. A typical retired husband and wife with good pensions and Social Security incomes may be financially comfortable living in their home. What happens if one of them dies and half of the monthly income goes away; can the other afford the expenses and taxes for their house now? Typically it ends with the survivor needing to sell or go into foreclosure. http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/10/real_estate/tax-liens/

We at C.E.P.T.A. hope to see you at our next event.


HB'SB 76 Photo

HB'SB 76 Photo2

CEPTA Hosts Meeting on “Common Core”

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On Tuesday August 20th CEPTA presented an informational meeting on the new federally mandated educational standards called “Common Core”. It was standing room only as over 100 people, including school directors, local government leaders, and the public were all in attendance to hear Dr. Peg Luksik explain this new education standard. Common Core is the new federally mandated program that is replacing the previously failed federally mandated “No Child Left Behind” program. The “No Child Left Behind” standards mandated by Federal law required that all schools must meet 100% proficiency by 2014 in order not to be labeled a failed school. Is this new “Common Core” program destined to follow its predecessor? Dr. Luksik used the filings made by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to the U.S. Department of Education to explain what will be expected of local school districts to comply with the new standards. There is a great deal of information circulating about Common Core, some true and some untrue. Dr. Luksik addressed many of these points, for example: Pennsylvania has stated that they will not implement Common Core; however they will implement Pennsylvania Core Standards. Upon examination of the reports the Pennsylvania Department of Education filed with the U.S. Department of Education Dr. Luksik showed that the Pennsylvania Core Standards are identical to the Federal Common Core standards. She also showed that based on these filings local curriculum would have to change to match the Federal Common Core curriculum.

The audience came prepared to ask plenty of questions and Dr. Luksik didn’t disappoint. She was well prepared and had a wealth of knowledge on this subject. Dr. Luksik’s main premise is that learning cannot be mandated. Every child is different, with varying interests that impact how and what they learn. To expect a uniform outcome by mandating that everyone will learn a subject on and at the same level is unreasonable.

Our second Presenter was our 134th district House Representative, Honorable Ryan Mackenzie. He spoke about what has been happening at our state Capitol on this topic. Representative Mackenzie also fielded many questions from the audience with lots of information being exchanged on this hot topic.

We at C.E.P.T.A. hope to see you at our next event.











CEPTA August Meeting: Common Core

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Date- Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
Location- Fire Company #1, 6th & Broad Sts., Emmaus
Time- 7:30-9:30 PM
– Mrs. Peg Luksik
– Honorable Ryan Mackenzie, PA House of Representatives

Former Gubernatorial candidate and graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, in Special Education and Elementary Education Mrs. Peg Luksik, will be presenting information on Common Core. Common Core is a U.S. education initiative that seeks to bring diverse State curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards-based education reform. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Mrs. Luksik’s will present information on the next federally mandated education system (Common Core) which will take the place of the failed “No Child Left Behind” program. Find out if this new system will be any better or if you think it could be even worse? Mrs. Luksik uses the federal filings submitted by Pennsylvania to present her argument of why she thinks it will be even worse.
Following Mrs. Luksik’s presentation State Representative Ryan Mackenzie will provide us with an update on the status of Common Core and how the State Legislature is responding to citizen’s concerns.

‘Common Core’ Handout

May Candidates Night

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The primaries offer you the largest choice of candidates running against incumbents and this is certainly true in our area this year. On the Lehigh County level we citizens will be voting for; one Lehigh County Executive and four Commissioners. On the school district level for four East Penn School District Board members. On the local level for Councils and supervisors, Mayors and District Justices. All these choices mean you will also hear the differing thoughts, viewpoints and ideas each candidate brings to the debates on how best to run our government.

Our CEPTA organization concentrates on the races voters within East Penn School District cast votes for. Therefore listed below are the races that were represented at our candidate event:
For the Lehigh County
Executive: One position and three candidates
Commissioners: District 2- one position and two candidates, District 5- one position and four candidates
East Penn School District
School board members: four positions- six candidates
Local level
Commissioners, Supervisors, Mayors and District Justices for: Alburtis, Emmaus, Macungie, Lower Macungie and Upper Milford Twps.

We held our “Candidates Night” event with almost 60 people in attendance. We hosted candidates vying for seven hotly contested races within the East Penn District. Of these highly contested races, thirteen out nineteen candidates were attended. The three big ones are for the Lehigh County Executive, Lehigh County Commissioners and the East Penn School Board. The other four are for the local races within the districts mentioned above.

There were candidates from other areas such as Allentown, Salisbury and Coopersburg. Any candidate that was present was given the opportunity to speak to the audience and introduce themselves and share their passion for their constituency. The candidate for Salisbury school board was only seventeen. It’s good to see that there are some young citizens becoming active in the political arena. The public was able to mingle and talk with the incumbents and those candidates vying for the incumbent’s seats. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that attended both the candidates and the public.

On a side note, a problem I see is the polarization of candidates and ideologies. There seems to be a trend forming of candidates aligning together in one group or another and these groups seeming to have very differing opinions and directions. This may or may not be bad; it just seems to be happening more often as of late. One of the concerns I have with this took place at CEPTA’s candidate event last night.

There are six candidates running for the East Penn School Board race and they seem to have formed two groups of three candidates each. The concern I had is that only one of these groups showed up to attend. Why? Were they concerned about taking questions from the public? Any candidates that ignore the public before they are elected probably cannot be expected to listen to the public when they are in office either.

As far as the three that did show up, they were Wanda Mercado-Arroyo, Chris Donatelli and Garrett Rhoads. They answered all the audience questions and everything was civil and respectful. It turns out that these are the same three that were endorsed by their Republican party.

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