May 15, 2007: Voters in Pennsylvania overwhelmingly rejected a proposal from Gov. Ed Rendell to allow school districts to lower their property taxes in exchange for enacting higher wage taxes. The referendum called for by Act 1, the "Taxpayer Relief Act," was rejected in 98 percent of Pennsylvania school districts.
As the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition noted at the time, "Part of the issue with funding (Pennsylvania) schools is that rural or older districts do not have the assessed value to support education. If they do not have the assessed value, they will not have the aggregate income level either ... the shift is especially valueless in distressed districts and the overall tax increase in rich districts is smaller than in distressed ones."
In an editorial, Tube City Almanac said Rendell had received a "spanking" from Pennsylvania and suggested that Act 1 was only shifting the tax burden, not reforming an unfair system for funding schools.
For his part, Rendell said voters were "were confused" and didn't have enough information.
"Let's put to rest the legend that Fast Eddie (Rendell) is a political genius," we editorialized. "For whatever reason, he keeps misreading the mood of the citizens and other elected officials, making his political acumen looks less 'David L. Lawrence in his prime' and more 'second-term Milton Shapp.'"
Originally published May 17, 2017.