Statement from Ronald Graham’s campaign on LERTAs

Ronald Graham for the 155th: campaign statement on LERTA

In Lisa Longo’s recent legislative update, she condemns LERTAs as “corporate tax welfare.” This slogan has a certain bumper sticker appeal, but does not comport with the reality of the LOCAL ECONOMIC REVITIALIZED TAX ASSISTANCE program. To begin with, LERTAs are implemented to rejuvenate blighted, usually industrial or commercial properties, and thereby improve the productivity of the site.

With modernized use of the blighted property, the aesthetics, the tax base, and the employment capacity of the community are improved. By way of example, I call your attention to Westside Apartments and Shopping in East Pikeland Township.

The Westside site was a severely polluted, dilapidated former car dealership, which had fallen into a multi-decade decline, to eventual, terminal disrepair and mortgage foreclosure. As a result of the LERTA, approved by the Phoenixville School District and East Pikeland Township, and applied to the multi-use zoning on the Rt. 724 corridor, developer Longview worked with the Township Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to craft a project that cleared all of the environmental hazards. The plan provided for 20,000 square feet of commercial space and 171 apartments, none larger than two bedrooms, so as to limit the student impact on the school system. The construction is now nearing completion.

Prior to the current development, the property had an assessed valuation of $534,630 and produced a school tax of $15,589.81. Under the terms of the LERTA, the property remains at the pre-improvement assessment ($534,630) producing $15,589.81 per year until the final occupancy permits are issued by the Township. At that time, the property will be reassessed. The developer estimates the value of the project at approximately $35,000,000. That being the case, Westside’s normalized tax will be $1,020,600 per year. Due to the provisions of the LERTA, the actual tax paid will increase from the current $15,589.81 by 10% per year of the new assessed valuation level for ten years, until the full tax is being paid annually.

As a result of the East Pikeland LERTA, as estimated herein, the School District will receive $5,455,402 more in tax revenue over the next ten years, from this property than would have been received without the LERTA.

This is the kind of corporate welfare I support. Maybe Ms. Longo had a better plan for this property, and others similarly situated. If so, please share it with me.

Ronald Graham

Candidate for State Representative, Pennsylvania District 155

(610) 933-3333


(Please note: publication of this article does not constitute an endorsement by the NCCDC)

Editorial: “Beautiful Clean Coal”

Letter to the Editor: Published in the Pottstown Mercury and Daily Local News

Donald Trump thinks he has ended “the war on beautiful Clean Coal.” But instead: “Trump bid to boost coal, nuclear power rejected.” (Reading Eagle 1/9). This was a decision by the Republican-controlled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that stated there is no evidence that retirements of coal-fired power plants pose a threat to reliability of the nation’s electric grid.

As a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, Rep. Ryan Costello has an opportunity to make a difference to prevent a climate crisis and reduce this Administration’s assault on our environmental safeguards. On Tuesday, February 13, a group of his constituents, along with PennEnvironment rallied at his office to #BeOurClimateSweetheart this Valentine’s Day and make a serious commitment to push for real climate solutions.

We are asking Rep. Costello to oppose future environmental attacks while actively working to find ways to address climate change.

Let’s not wait until the tipping point to act. “The latest models show that with very rapid cuts in emissions, Antarctic ice might remain largely intact for centuries; without them, we might see 11 feet of sea-level rise by century’s end…” (Bill McKibben, Winning Slowly Is the Same as Losing).

Let’s hold Rep. Costello accountable.

|Mary Ann Mack

Representative Warren Kampf Hurting Our Schools: HB 1213

Statement on HB 1213 by Melissa Shusterman, 2018 Democratic Candidate for PA 157th House District:

My opponent, Rep. Warren Kampf, has introduced HB 1213, a partisan bill that would limit the ability of school districts to challenge property tax assessments. While this may seem like a good idea on paper, in reality, it really isn’t. This bill would cost Pennsylvania school districts hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. Pennsylvania’s school system, one of the most unequal and underfunded in the nation, cannot sustain both this loss of revenue and the cuts in funding Republicans in the legislature keep making. Our children will suffer the most from these drastic cuts in school funding and revenue.

HB 1213 will also harm Pennsylvania families in another way. By removing the ability of school districts to challenge severely under-assessed properties, homeowners and businesses lose the only way school districts can try to make school taxes fairer. Property owners of appropriately-assessed properties will have to deal with increased mileage rates to make up for the under-assessed properties.

Pennsylvania’s schools, families, and businesses deserve better than HB 1213. Pennsylvanians deserve schools that are fully and fairly funded. Pennsylvanians deserve a fair property tax system. HB 1213 accomplishes neither of these goals. Our representatives in the legislature should be doing all they can to help our education system, not hurt it. I, along with many teachers, parents, school officials, and elected officials across the state, voice my opposition to Warren Kampf’s dangerous HB 1213. In the legislature, I won’t just fight against harmful bills like these – I’ll fight for legislation that will allow every Pennsylvania child to get the quality education he or she deserves.

Melissa Shusterman for State Representative in the 157th



Petition against HB1213


Link to Petition against HB 1213

Click on graphic to go to the petition