Blue Wave Fact or Fiction with Dick Polman

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 Hosting Open House: All Are Welcome

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.

Pennsylvania Delegation Announces Their Votes – Video

Governor Tom Wolf

Governor Tom Wolf

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…]

Win One State and Become President

tckThe 2016 presidential election has been unprecedented already in so many ways, but it may be holding its biggest surprise for last, and by “last,” I mean January 2017.

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.

Riot-control gear being acquired by Cleveland in preparation for the RNC.

Riot-control gear being acquired by Cleveland in preparation for the RNC.

I think either outcome is fairly likely. In any case there are likely to be a large number of unhappy campers at the Republican National Convention.
[Read more…]

EITC: A Tax Scam in Sheep’s Clothing

greedypersonIn 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.

Take Action to End Gerrymandering

PA-177-District

Pennsylvania’s 177th Legislative District carves out a Republican stronghold in Philadelphia. Image: BallotPedia.

(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…]