scott wagner on property taxes

Scott Wagner On Property Taxes: “I’m The Guy That Can Get It Done”

Criticizes What The Associated Press Called Mango’s “About-Face On An Issue Important To Many Conservatives”

During yesterday’s debate between the 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidates in Philadelphia, Paul Mango admitted that he flip-flopped on the issue of property tax elimination. Back in June Mango bashed the Senate’s plan, Senate Bill 76, but he’s since endorsed it.

As the Associated Press reported yesterday: “For Mango, that is an about-face on an issue important to many conservatives. He originally had said he favored letting local tax increases make up for evaporating property tax dollars, instead of state tax increases. He also had criticized the bill for failing to immediately eliminate school property taxes, and warned that raising the state income tax would drive higher earners from the state.” (Associated Press, 3/6/18)

Today, on the very same radio show where Mango outlined his opposition to Senate Bill 76, Scott Wagner, a cosponsor of the legislation, pointed out that he is the only candidate in the race who can be trusted to eliminate property taxes.

In an interview with WILK’s Sue Henry Wagner said:

  • “Well if you remember last year you had Paul on your show and you asked him a question about property taxes and then he came back and said that he didn’t think Senate Bill 76 was really the answer and then you pinned him down. But now he’s flip-flopped, and he’s now – 76 is okay now because he’s talked to Senator Argall and he thinks it’s going to work. I don’t know whether it’s Paul the flipper, flippin’ Paul, lyin’ Paul, I don’t know what it is. But he’s taking direction from his political consultants, they say listen, Paul, you got to say this if you want to get elected. Listen, the bottom line is property taxes are huge in Pennsylvania. You know it, you have a lot of people on your show that talk about it, I’m the guy that can get it done.” (Interview with Sue Henry3/7/18)
In addition to flip-flopping on property tax elimination, Mango also lied about why he changed his mind on the issue. At yesterday’s debate Mango said:
  • “When I spoke to Sue Henry I had questions about SB 76. I was concerned about all that money routed through Harrisburg and whether it was ever going to get back to the school districts. You know what I did, I talked to Senator Argall, the author of that bill, I talked to others who had input into that bill, and they gave me comfort that that would be the case. And once they gave me comfort I acknowledged that SB 76 would be just a fine way to do that.” (Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Debate, 3/6/18)
In his interview with Sue Henry in June, “money routed through Harrisburg” was not one of his concerns. In fact, he had a whole host of others. Mango said:
  • “SB 76 actually increases personal income tax rates by 60 percent. We from 3 percent to 5 percent. It increases sales taxes by a significant amount. And my fear is what’s happened in Connecticut and what’s happened in Maryland and other states that have increased their personal income tax. You know what’s happened there? All the high income earners have left the state. So my fear is if we take property taxes and do nothing other than convert those into income taxes we are going to wind up losing a lot of high income wage earners and then we are going to have a bigger budget whole than we have now. And let me just let you in on the dirty little secret about property taxes and SB 76, I’ve talked to seven school superintendents, and they say 98 percent of the school districts in PA will still have property taxes if that law is passed. And the reason is, and it’s a little bit technical, but they still have the ability in that law to recoup their capital expenditures – expanding schools, new schools in the property tax even after that thing is passed. So we are going to wind up with residual property taxes, a higher state income tax, we’re going to loose a lot of our high income earners, we’re going to have less revenue than we have today, we’re still going to have property taxes and we are going to be in a deeper hole.” (Interview with WILK’s Sue Henry, 6/16/17)
Therefore, some questions should be asked to Mango – Does he still believe SB 76 will drive high wage earners out of Pennsylvania? Does he still believe that 98 percent of school districts will have to pay taxes if the legislation passes? Does he still believe it will leave us in a deeper hole?
Mango’s answer in yesterday’s debate was also a lie because he claimed he changed his mind on SB 76 after talking to Senator Argall. This doesn’t jive with reality, as Mango and Argall spoke about the bill on June 26 and Mango was still criticizing SB 76 as late as a January interview with The Caucus. 
Mango said:
  • “I have three issues with Senate Bill 76. I read the whole thing, 138 pages. One is what you said. It doesn’t eliminate school property tax. Two is that the money routes through Harrisburg and there is no detail on the formula… I don’t trust these guys. We saw it with Act 89. They are not using the dollars as we talked about for what they were supposed to. The third thing that bothers me is that it gives latitude to the local school board person to raise income taxes. It has to go through a referendum, but I don’t think that should be the case. Can the township do it?” (The Caucus, 1/30/18)