Dear editor,

Seventeen years ago we moved to PA from Baltimore in hopes of a better place to live and raise a family. Some family was already here for college and decided to stay. Upon visiting PA several times we wanted to make PA our home. My wife and I always dreamed of having a large house in the mountains for both families to come together to spend quality time. In 2009 we found our dream home we thought that the rest of years here would be complete.

The following year, we received a letter that the school board had appealed our taxes with no amount with other taxes involved. We thought that the taxes were together. To make a long story short we had not received a correct amount of what our taxes are and to this day no one can tell us how many taxes we actually have. But PA law states (according to people at the appeal hearing) it is our responsibility to know how many, how much and when each tax is due. I feel this is ridiculous. My question is if no one knows then how are we supposed to know. Our taxes went from 3,200 a year to 9,000 a year. This increase is insane we appealed it and lost. Everyone said "that's the way it is" and that schools need to be funded. Well my question is; if the schools need to be funded why are programs like music, sports and art are being cut. These programs are important to socialization for children, apparently the state of PA does not care about our children that are in school, due to the fact that they would rather take casino money to give millions of dollars to sports stadiums. They will just give the power to the school board to do whatever they need to do to fund the schools. If the schools are being funded then why are these programs being cut. Less programs means less teachers means fewer taxes. They are funding their pockets and pensions instead. The state has no guidelines or requirements and the school board don't have anyone to answer to except for the people, why they won't answer to.

Senator Argall is proposing to raise sales tax to 7% and on more items to eliminate school tax. I would rather pay 8% in sales tax on everything, 1% to help state and 1% to help schools to be funded all year long. I believe that this is a wise thing to do to help people to have taxes lowered to save their homes. This would make it easier on the school board to fund more money for children in school and give people money to purchase things that they want instead of just what they need. It is a rumor going around that the school board is opposing this proposal because they will lose their power to tax upon need.

Our five year plan now is to move out of PA, unless its taken or I just walk away and keep their money. The dream that we had has turned into a nightmare. My feelings for the state of PA went from pride to disappointment. In five years that's 45,000 in taxes. That's absolutely unacceptable. If I wanted to live in Jersey and have ridiculous taxes and corruption, I would be living there. This state has taken everything away from the tax payer and spends billions a year on welfare for people that don't pay taxes. Over 1% of the people living in this county (Schuylkill, West Penn Township) have lost their homes and property because of taxes. Please check with Senator Argall about the loss of homes in this area. Most are elderly or on a fixed income and have nowhere to go. So where is the money from the lottery that's supposed to help the elderly? 1% of that 1% of the homes has not been able to be resold because of taxes and knowing that when sold they will be reassessed and raised again. If you drive in this area you will see that there are a lot of homes and property for sale.

The school board says "it is the way it is." I love my home and I would like to stay here but I see no possible way to afford living here with a two hundred percent tax increase and my wife losing her home due to budget cuts, her unemployment taken due to political gain and dumping our entire life savings into this home. Total assets lost in one year from a yearly income $62,000 I will lose everything I have and have NO WHERE to go and no money to do it with. Imagine this; for the past five years there have been no Christmases, no birthdays, no vacations and can't even take my wife out for an anniversary dinner. My house is on need of repair; roof, AC, painting, electrical, etc. can't be fixed. I am in need of a new car and can't afford one and my vehicles (average mileage 289,000) are in constant need of attention. One vehicle almost 400,000 miles. All my hopes and dreams for staying in this state are probably gone at this point. Why stay in a state that punishes its people for trying to make a better life for them and there families.

Thank you for your time.

Michael Trescott

West Penn Township