Letter: Chester County needs new leadership

To The Editor,

Letters1When we move forward together, we move forward farther. It is often the case that elected officials like to talk about how great they are more than they like to talk about how great the people they serve are. That is fundamentally un-productive because it means that they’re focused on their own accomplishments instead of the community’s accomplishments. A “we” attitude is always the best approach to solving problems because issues like education funding and property tax reform must be addressed by working together. 

In Downingtown, we are particularly proud that our community moves forward through partnerships between our stakeholders, non-profits, business community, and residents. When we re-started the Downingtown Main Street Association, we did it to be a conduit of compromise that will bring economic successes – like a new train station with mixed-use development, more commercial activity, and events to our downtown and parks. This organization jointly funded by the business community and Borough government has been an example of how bipartisan relationships focused on community goals can accomplish big things.

Coatesville, specifically the school district, would benefit from a type of leadership in the legislature that adopts a “we” attitude that puts families first. As long as Pennsylvania fails in its obligation to the Coatesville School District to provide 50% of education costs, children are going to be put at a disadvantage. When Governor Wolf proposed a budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year that would have meant $8 million for Coatesville schools and a massive overhaul to the Pennsylvania tax code – including huge property tax decreases and increases to some other taxes like natural gas and income – it was met with resistance from Harry Lewis and the Republican Party.

The 74th district is largely middle- or working-class; the average property assessment in Downingtown is $125,000 and Coatesville it is $65,000. Much of the district lives paycheck to paycheck. The district would have drastically benefited economically from the property tax cuts – specifically fixed income seniors, not to mention the teachers, families and hardworking children who could have benefited from the increased education funding for books, computers and programming.

Every Democrat voted yes on that budget. Harry Lewis and every Republican voted no. That means our district and seniors didn’t get the tax cut and our children didn’t get the funding they needed to have more academic opportunities at school.

We can solve these problems if we elect new leaders in Chester County who understand that moving forward means working with our parents, faith-based community, and business leaders to solve problems together. Our children and seniors deserve a we-first attitude that brings real solutions.

In order to make that point: Harry Lewis wrote “I” or “my” over 10 times in four paragraphs last week, while this op-ed contains none because this writer fundamentally believes that we are in this together.

Josh Maxwell

Mayor, Downingtown

Candidate, 74th State House District

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