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Campaign Issues

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    Ax the Property Tax Now!
    Fair Funding for Education

    We all can agree that children are our future: our economy, our community, our legacy. But without a decent education, our children’s future is limited. From corporate executive officers to ordinary folks of moderate means, the call to strengthen our kids’ schools rings universally loud and clear. That is why reliable, fair support for public education is at the heart of the Maza for Senate Campaign.

    Many inequities exist in our current educational system. They occur because of the way public schools are financed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our local school districts are overdependent on property taxes as their primary revenue source. This is especially unfair to homeowners living on fixed and limited incomes. The net result? Great disparities in per-pupil spending between rich and poor districts, undermining the potential of too many of our children.

    When compared to all fifty states, Pennsylvania currently ranks in the bottom third—the fifteenth lowest—in per-pupil spending statewide. In exact terms, the Commonwealth spends just $3400 per student, far less than the national average of $4345. And this funding gap is expected to widen because the Governor’s 2002 budget proposes a mere one percent increase in overall state aid to public schools. Funding for special education will rise by only one and one-half percent under the current plan. These numbers do not even keep pace with the annual rate of inflation!

    Our current leadership has flunked an essential math test. Substantial underfunding at the state level will force a massive increase in the educational costs imposed on local taxpayers. Given such dire prospects, we believe there must be no higher priority than immediate action to support public education. In an era in which the slogan “Leave No Child Behind” is so often heard, the fact remains that Pennsylvania’s current state budget leaves EVERY child behind.

    The time for talk in Harrisburg is over; it is time for decisive action. A new funding system is necessary to eliminate “an 18th-century approach to a 21st-century need.” We CAN find a better method to fund our public schools!

    To provide adequate support for public education, Jim Maza:

    • Is demanding “Ax the Tax” legislation, forcing the abolishment of property taxes within two years—by June of 2004—as the primary revenue source for Pennsylvania’s public schools.

    • Is calling for a 50-percent reduction in local property taxes, while raising simultaneously the state’s share of the cost of public education back to 50 percent (from its current level of just 34 percent).

    • Will not consider increases in the state sales or personal income tax until alternative sources of revenue are added to the school funding equation, including slot machines at racetracks, additional taxes on tobacco and alcohol, and other user fees.

    Jim Maza believes that public education is everyone’s responsibility, and that everybody should pay his fair share. Jim challenges the Pennsylvania state legislature to keep its commitment to our kids. In order to lead change in Harrisburg on the issue of funding for public schools, Jim needs your support. Working together, we can elect him to the Senate and help all of our children. We must AX THE PROPERTY TAX NOW and provide fair funding for education!

    During the primary campaign, Jim Maza spoke out on the property tax issue in an interview with The Reporter, Lansdale, PA. To view the article, click here.

    If you would like to learn more about the complex issue of property tax reform, we recommend the following article from The Philadelphia Inquirer. It details the landmark property tax reform efforts currently underway in Michigan. These initiatives are an experiment in the national debate over how best to revamp outmoded funding systems for public education.

      “One way to fix property tax: Tear it up and start over”
      By Anthony R. Wood, Staff Writer
      The Philadelphia Inquirer
      December 12, 2001
      Page A01

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    Reproductive Rights

    Whether or not a woman should have the right to terminate her own unwanted pregnancy has, in recent years, become one of the most controversial topics in the United States. The Maza for Senate Campaign is dedicated to the belief that this is a personal choice, guaranteed by the Constitution, to be made freely by each woman. We believe that an enlightened society empowers women with reproductive options. It does not restrict them by limiting their fundamental reproductive rights.

    Jim Maza does not pretend to have the scientific background to argue definitively about the precise moment when life begins, nor does he believe that it is the proper role of government to dictate matters of personal reproductive choice. Instead, he leaves childbearing decisions to the realm of personal morality and beliefs. Jim wants such life-altering, fundamental choices to be made by individual women, in conjunction with their loved ones, clergy, and medical advisors—not federal, state, or local officials. Each woman should be guided by her own belief system, family structure, and cultural background.

    Jim does not believe it is appropriate to restrict a woman from having an abortion if she so chooses, nor would he limit the right of healthcare professionals to perform this important medical procedure. Instead, if elected as a state senator, he would draw upon his experience and work vigorously to defend the reproductive rights of women if they are ever challenged in the Pennsylvania Senate during his tenure in office.

    To learn more about regional efforts to strengthen women’s reproductive rights, visit the websites of the following organizations:

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    Healthy Babies

    Not every baby is born under favorable circumstances. But every child born in Pennsylvania deserves a healthy start. Unfortunately, many factors contribute to unacceptable infant-mortality rates in economically distressed areas. Among them are the high cost of reproductive healthcare, limited access to transportation, language barriers, inadequate housing and nutrition, domestic or substance abuse, and lack of knowledge about free or affordable assistance programs.

    Jim Maza has clear priorities and an impressive track record in the struggle to reduce excessive infant death rates. While serving as Montgomery County Commissioner, he learned of alarming Health Department statistics showing dramatic, economically-linked differences in infant-mortality rates. Jim’s concern resulted in a countywide Healthy Baby Conference. Through his efforts, funding increased significantly for county health programs to fight infant mortality.

    During his tenure in office, Jim visited prenatal and childcare centers, toured in the MOMobile to observe firsthand the County’s maternal health program on wheels, and raised private funds to sponsor a multisession training program teaching parenting skills to young fathers. Jim believes fathers have an essential responsibility to provide support—beyond financial—to children and their mothers.

    As a senator representing the 24th District, Jim pledges to extend these initiatives in Harrisburg—at the state level—furthering his commitment to the well-being of Pennsylvania’s babies, their parents, and the healthcare providers who serve them.

    Jim’s efforts to combat infant mortality as Montgomery County Commissioner are detailed in the following article, reprinted with permission from The Reporter, Lansdale, PA:

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Copyright ©2002 Maza for Senate Committee
All Rights Reserved

Last update: July 16, 2002

Issues development paid for by
the Maza for Senate Committee

Kimberly Haymans-Geisler, Writer
Page edited by Max Geisler (Volunteer)