Join DJOP on Sunday September 16 at 11 am as columnist Dick Polman discusses the topic of the November 2018 elections. Dick will discuss his thoughts on whether or not there will be a Blue Wave election as well as the current political climate including Trump, Russians, Mueller and our own PA races from Governor to Senate to Congress. A light brunch will be served and there will be time for Q and A. So save the date for a not to be missed event! Sign up here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/dpollman-djop
Ohev Shalom of Bucks County is hosting an Open House on Sunday May 6th from 9:30 AM until 11:30 AM. All guests are welcome to visit the Synagogue in Richboro and learn what we have to offer to prospective members. Guests can tour the buildings and Hebrew School classroom. At 10 AM, and can meet our clergy during the Clergy Meet and Greet. Dr. Rabbi Elliot Perlman, Cantor Annelise Ocanto-Romo, and Cantor Emeritus Paul Frimark will tell you all about Ohev Shalom’s innovative programs in Jewish life and education. This is a great time for prospective members to learn about the benefits of being a member of the Synagogue and how its programs help people lead more enriched Jewish lives as members of the Ohev community. Please join us and enjoy coffee and snacks with members of Ohev’s leadership while getting to know the Ohev Community.
For Jewish families with young children, Ohev Shalom is excited to mention that family membership is complimentary until the oldest child is in the Third Grade!
More information about Ohev Shalom of Bucks County can be found by visiting http://www.ohev.org, by calling 215-322-9595, or by sending an email to [email protected]. Ohev Shalom celebrates the uniqueness of each individual and welcomes diversity within our sacred community. All are welcome, as Ohev is an all-inclusive community, and we welcome interfaith couples and families into our community.
On Tuesday evening, July 26, history was make when Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman nominated for president by a major political party. Here is the transcript of Pennsylvania’s announcement of their vote. The video of the proceedings is linked below. [Read more…]
Political analysts are focused on the Republican nominating contest. Some believe that Donald Trump may amass 1,237 delegates and win the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Others believe that no one will win a majority on the first ballot and in subsequent ballots the “Trump” delegates (who in many cases are not chosen by the Trump campaign) would coalesce in support of a Republican more palatable to the establishment.
In 2001, the Pennsylvania legislature created the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) in order to encourage companies to donate money to private schools. This program – little known and even less understood – expanded over the years to the point where it has distorted an act of charitable generosity into a accounting trick stealing money from the public treasury and actually paying schools only a fraction of the money lost.
While Pennsylvania’s legislature is unable to agree on a budget, EITC has grown into a bonanza for those willing to game the tax system. Here is how it works: A profitable company or a group of high-income tax payers have a total annual income of $22 million. Normally, Pennsylvania would tax this income at a rate of 3.07%, yielding $675,000 per year to help fund all the needs of our commonwealth including the most underfunded public schools.
However, under this law, the company could commit itself (over the next two years) to “generously” donate $750,000 per year to their favorite education school or scholarship fund. They are then able to use 90% of the value of their donation (i.e. $675,000) as a credit against their obligations to support the needs of our tax. This completely offsets their state obligation!
If we stopped our calculations at this point it would be bad enough. The group or company would be taking $675,000 from the coffers of the state at a net cost of only $75,000 to themselves. This money wouldn’t necessarily go to meet the state’s educational priorities with a public school system plagued with crumbling infrastructure. Instead it would go to whatever elite private institution was lucky enough to have benefactors with such large tax bills which they need to offset, and the tax/legal-savvy to form the fictive corporations necessary to exploit this fiscal loophole.
Yes, we should give more money to schools, but money should go to schools according to their need, not according to the luck of the draw and the whims of the elite. This credit is only available to the wealthiest citizens and corporations. Accordingly, low-income Pennsylvanians pay the full 3.08% state income tax while their high-income counterparts can offset all or most of their tax obligation.
The government should strive to make the best use of its revenue. Call your State Representative and State Senator and tell them to end this insane system of Orwellian accounting which rewards self-interested manipulation in the name of so-called charity.
Full disclosure: I personally benefit from EITC with my donations to Jewish schools. While I oppose the concept, it is currently legal though capped at $75 million. I rationalize my participation in this program arguing that the money will go to an elite school to the benefit of some high-income taxpayer whether I participate or not, so why not me and the schools I support. Meanwhile, I am calling for an end to EITC in Pennsylvania.
(JSPAN) Pennsylvania has some of the most gerrymandered political districts in the country. The Jewish Social Policy Action Network has long supported the creation of an independent redistricting system to restore competitive elections and government accountability and action to improve the Commonwealth’s process for reapportionment and redrawing of electoral districts.
Toward these goals, the JSPAN Board recently voted to join with the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, the Philadelphia Jewish Voice and independent citizens across the Commonwealth in a coalition endorsing the efforts of Fair Districts PA to ensure fair districts and fair elections for voters in Pennsylvania. We believe that redistricting should be done in a manner that is transparent, impartial and fair. [Read more…]
Marcel L. Groen, elected in September as the State Democratic Chairman in Pennsylvania, stepped down from his position as leader of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee on Thursday evening, saying it was time for him to turn over the reins of the local party and to give his full attention to crucial statewide races in 2016.
He is a member of Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park where he was vice-president. Over the years Marcel has held a number of other positions of leadership in our Jewish community: He was board member of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, board member of Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, president of Bucks County Jewish National, and vice-president of Solomon Schechter Day Schools.The party’s Executive Committee, meeting in Plymouth Meeting, voted unanimously to select Joseph Foster, who had been First Vice Chairman, as the new Chairman. Foster hailed Groen for his 21 years of leadership and pledged to continue the unity and inclusiveness that enabled Democrats to achieve a historic first on November 3 by winning every county government office.
“The Montgomery County Democratic Party is large and vibrant and growing,” said Foster, who is a professor of American history at Temple University and serves on the county’s Board of Assessment.
“I have learned over time that the most important thing we do is stay in the same boat rowing in the same direction,” Foster told the Executive Committee. “Unity is our success. As long as we stay together, we will be successful.”
Jason Salus, re-elected as Montgomery County Treasurer on November 3, was unanimously selected as the party’s first vice chairman. Michael Barbiero, an attorney and Democratic Area Leader for Abington and Rockledge, was unanimously chosen to fill the position of party
Treasurer that was held by Salus.
The party’s ongoing leadership includes Jeanne Sorg, the newly elected county Recorder of Deeds, as Second Vice Chair; Veronica Hill-Milbourne as Corresponding Secretary, and Olivia Brady as Recording Secretary.
Groen, an attorney who was first chosen as party Chairman in 1994, said he was leaving with mixed emotions.
“This is really bittersweet for me,” Groen told the Executive Committee, which filled a large meeting room at the AFSCME offices on Walton Road. “You and this party have been an important part of my life.”
Two decades ago, Groen noted, Democrats were a minority in Montgomery County. The party trailed badly in voter registration, had only one Representative in the state Legislature, and held no competitive county offices. Now, the party holds a big lead in registration, has a large and growing delegation in Harrisburg, and dominates at the county level. The county has also grown into a major power base for the statewide Democratic Party, delivering large margins on November 3 for all of the statewide Democratic court nominees.
Groen praised the work of Democratic workers and volunteers at all levels of the county party, and said it was their willingness to sacrifice for the common good that made success possible. He also praised the work of the Montgomery County Democratic Party staff, led by Executive Director Dianna DiIllio and Political Director Joe Graeff.Foster earned his Ph.D. from Temple in 1989 and began full-time teaching in 2009. For two decades, he worked on a research and publication project sponsored by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the National Endowment for the Humanities that focused on the state’s early history.
He and his wife, Debby, are parents of four grown children. They live in Bala Cynwyd where they are members of Lower Merion Synagogue.