A response to Rep. Lawrence10/01/2014 05:29PM ● By Lev
Letter to the Editor:
John Lawrence attempted to make his case for reelection in last week’s Chester County Press. He fails to persuade.
He touts his votes against tax increases at the state level. But, the Corbett-Lawrence cuts in state funding of our public schools has directly led to increases in our property taxes.
He speaks out against “pork barrel projects” and “special interest funding,” but takes pride in the special treatment needed to get Tastykake to expand in Oxford and has done nothing to end special corporate tax breaks that raise the burden on individual taxpayers.
He notes the ways his staff helps constituents cope with government regulations, but then co-authored HB 1077, which would have imposed demeaning new intrusions on the doctor-patient relationship for women.
When Tom Corbett broke his no tax increase pledge to cover vitally needed transportation projects, Lawrence stayed true and voted no. What then has he done for our roads, bridges and public transit systems? And again, when the state fails to pay its share, local municipalities raise taxes to cover their road repair budgets.
His response to the chronic underfunding of the state employee pension systems is to urge a shift to a 401(k) style contribution system, without explaining how that would save money in the current budget or how he would pay for existing state (and even greater local school district) pension obligations.
His major claim for our vote is that he constantly pushes to end wasteful spending in Harrisburg. But, the most conservative estimates place the cost of his ill-conceived and unneeded voter id law at over $5 million – far more than the money he has saved us by turning down a state car, cell phone and the like.
He provides no evidence that his cuts to health and human services have benefited those who “truly need a helping hand.”
Lawrence genuinely seems to believe that the main activity of a legislator should be to reduce the role of government in our lives – at least for men. But, how then does he propose to provide the public services we cannot provide on our own? I have no idea from word or deed how John would educate our children, maintain our roads and protect our environment.
Lawrence ran for office to “end the sorry state of affairs in Harrisburg.” He has been true to his word in focusing his primary attention on ending—with mixed success--practices he views as wasteful. As best I can tell, he puts in long hours in Harrisburg and meeting constituents – individually and through town meetings. But, I’ve seen no improvement in the quality of public services we receive – just a failure of the governor and legislature to find the funds needed to pay for the services we expect and need. We aren’t any better off than we were four years ago.
I’m voting for Ann Schott, who’s spent three decades as a successful public school teacher. Ann has persuaded me that she will fight for a school funding formula that ensures that fast growing, high need school districts like ours will get their fair share. She will work with Tom Wolf to cover our current state funding shortfall with a fair natural gas extraction tax and by cleaning up the maze of corporate tax loopholes.
David R. Ross