So Grover Norquist wrote a letter to one of Pennsylvania's Republican state senators:
When is a fee a tax? When Grover Norquist says so.
The Inquirer reported last week that anti-tax guru Norquist was the wizard behind the Oz-like fiscal contortions of the GOP-controlled state legislature, which has refused to consider raising revenue of any kind in the face of a massive debt.
It was Norquist and his D.C.-based group, Americans for Tax Reform, who advanced the "no tax" pledge signed by hundreds of elected officials, including Gov. Corbett and 34 members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
The state House - in keeping with Corbett's "no way, no how" to new taxes - has buried any proposals to place a levy on Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction.
But this month Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) bit the bullet and offered up a shale gas "impact fee" with proceeds funneled to affected areas.
Over in the governor's office, Corbett remains unwavering in his campaign-era hard line over tax increases, but in recent months has shown some hint of openness - if not support - of the prospect of an "impact fee."
Because Grover - arbiter of all things fiscal throughout the land - said so.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today reports that Norquist sent a letter to Sen. Mary Jo White (R., Venango) whose committee would have to consider the shale fee pronouncing it, in fact, a tax.
“Make no mistake, this proposal is a tax increase based on any honest and objective analysis,” Norquist wrote.
“As such, a vote in favor of Senate Bill 1100 also represents a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a commitment which Gov. Corbett and 34 members of the legislature have made to their constituents to impose any and all efforts to raise taxes."
I wonder who voted for this guy. Oh, that's right: NOBODY. He's just the guy with all the corporate cash who can target you and take you down. So the politicians will do anything, no matter how immoral or unpopular, if Grover tells them to do it.
But let's look at the logical consequences of Grover's famous strong-arm tactics. Because of Grover Norquist, the man who's vowed to drown government in a bathtub, the lives of disabled Pennsylvanians are at risk. Via RIck Smith:
“If disabled people are going to die without services, we’re going to do it publicly.”
Those are the words of disabled activity Cassie Holdworth-James from Philadelphia who spoke to me today during ADAPT’s occupation of our capital. Watch her video.
Yesterday 30 disabled citizens rolled into their capitol in Harrisburg, PA asking to meet with their governor Tom Corbett. They were ignored.
In fact, they were worse than ignored. The Corbett squad saw fit to put 25 uniformed and undercover security people standing all around these citizens whose only crime was to ask their governor hear their concerns. Check out the pictures and video of them here.
A wheelchair-bound spokeswoman said she believed the governor and his Republican allies' budget is going to cost people like her their lives, and, that she was not going to die in private. She was going to die in public for everyone to see what the budget cuts did. These 30 brave activist have started down a path that we must all follow in order to protect the most vulnerable and needy in our society. Budgets have been called a moral document that shows ones priorities. This budget shows the Republican priorities, but it is not moral .For those of you outside Pennsylvania, we need to learn from these people who already are up against huge odds.