Invitation to Debate Property Tax
Men think they think upon
political questions, and they do; but they think with their party, not
independently; they read its literature, but not that of the other
side; they arrive at convictions, but they are drawn from a partial
view of the matter in hand and are of no particular value.
It is better to debate a
question without settling it than to settle a question without debating
- Joseph Joubert
In all debates, let truth be
thy aim, not victory, or an unjust interest.
― William Penn
prosperity through freedom, equality, local
autonomy and respect for the commons.
To Property Tax Opponents:
An Invitation to Debate
Tuesday, July 31, 7 PM
Harrisburg Radisson Inn, Camp Hill,
Contact: Dan Sullivan, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Joshua Vincent, director of the Center for the
Study of Economics, and Dan
Sullivan, director of Saving Communities, invite opponents of
Pennsylvania's property tax to debate the question, "Should
Pennsylvania reduce its dependence on real estate taxes?"
We invite any and all opponents of property
tax to select
their two best debaters - their most expert, most articulate and most
persuasive, to make the case for reducing or eliminating property taxes.
We have covered the cost of a hotel room
which seats 160, and we are
asking the Pennsyvania Cable Network PCN and other media to cover the
event. We will reserve 80 seats for people invited by opponents.
We agree with the goals of those who would replace property tax with non-real estate taxes [see below],
but we are convinced that their proposed measures would not attain
these goals. We believe that arguments to this effect are actually
rationalizations by people who dislike property tax but do not
understand the underlying economics. However, we are open to the idea
that someone in Pennsylvania can prove us wrong.
We are sending this invitation to bona
fide opponents of property tax as we
identify them. If we get multiple responses, we will invite the
opponents to choose their best members to represent them in this
debate, and to solicit their supporters to attend.
If you think you can make a solid,
informed case for reducing or abolishing property taxes in
Pennsylvania, or have people in mind who can do so, please let us know
as soon as possible.
Points of Agreement
We agree that tax reform should,
- reduce the burden for ordinary home owners, and especially for those on limited incomes,
- reduce the number of foreclosures,
- make housing more affordable,
- promote a stable, healthy, vibrant economy,
- give taxpayers more control over their government,
- reflect the values of the founders of this country and our spirit of independence,
- provide adequate revenue without encouraging waste
- put the public interest ahead of special interests
Points of Disagreement
- That a properly assessed real estate tax, with an emphasis on land values, can accomplish all of these objectives, but
- That shifting away from real estate taxes will not accomplish any of them, but will make matters worse in each category.
Invitations and Responses so far:
David Baldinger and the PA Taxpayer Cyber Coalition:
On April 30, we sent an invitation to the PA Taxpayer Cyber
Coalition, and got no response. Dan Sullivan issued a public challenge
in the comments section of an article on tax reform, and got the
following response by David Baldinger:
Dan, working for this legislation
has been my full-time unpaid job for the past eight years, so I'm up
for the challenge. Just be prepared to see your "experts" driven into
the ground. What we're saying just doesn't SOUND good, it IS good. You
need to learn all the facts before commenting. Despite what you imply,
we're not just a bunch of ignorant hicks.
David Baldinger, in comments
to article in Public Opinion,
Chambersberg PA, May 8, 2012
However, Mr. Baldinger did not
respond to follow-up invitations on that board, nor to an invitation
sent to him on April 30, nor to a challenge on his organization's
Facebook page. On May 19, we sent another invitation to his personal
facebook account and to his organization's Facebook Page.