Lost Causes


I’m proud to support Senator Argall’s Senate Bill 76 to eliminate school property taxes because no tax should have the power to leave you homeless.

SB 76 opponents claim very few people actually lose their homes because of not being able to pay property taxes.  Yet, I often see newspapers’ legal notices about sheriff’s sales of properties.  If just one person’s home is lost due to property taxes, it’s one too many.

That’s why I joined with Senator Argall and other Senators to advance the one measure that allows for the total elimination school property taxes:  Senate Bill 76.

Unfortunately, I’ve been down this road before.  In the beginning of my efforts to bring medical cannabis to Pennsylvania, I was ignored, ridiculed, and told “Mike, this is a lost cause; you’ll never be able to bring medical cannabis to Pennsylvania.”

During the fight for medical cannabis, I sometimes recalled a scene from “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and was proud Senator Corman also referenced the movie in his remarks on final passage on medical cannabis – agreeing how that issue had often been called a “lost cause” so many times as well.

As I look at the work that’s gone into SB 76, there are times I think back to the dark days of medical cannabis and those who said it was a “lost cause.”  Now, I hear similar comments about SB 76 also being a lost cause.  I don’t agree – just like I didn’t believe medical cannabis was a lost cause.  It’s why I like to quote Jimmy Stewart’s Jefferson Smith in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

In that movie, an idealistic young man is sent to the United States Senate by the powers that be because they believe they can control him.  However, they turn out to be wrong because Jefferson Smith stands by his principles and runs into those powers and is discredited, humiliated, and ultimately threatened with expulsion from the Senate.

So, he fights – by standing up and filibustering in support of his principles, just like SB 76 supporters have been doing.  In one of the final scenes, the fictional Senator Smith faces his mentor, Senator Paine, who set him up for his ouster from the Senate and Mr. Smith addresses Senator Paine and the other members of the Senate.

Senator Smith says:  “I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine . . . All you people don’t know about lost causes – Mr. Paine does – he said once they were the only causes worth fighting for and he fought for them once for the only reason any man ever fights for them – because of just one plain simple rule:  ‘Love thy neighbor.’

“And you know that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any other.

“Yes, you even die for them.”

The fight to pass SB 76 isn’t a movie.  I’m not Jimmy Stewart.  I haven’t been filibustering.  I don’t know if or when Senate Bill 76 will ever become law.

However, I do abide by Mr. Smith’s principle of “love thy neighbor.”  It’s among the many reasons why I support Senate Bill 76 so strongly:  because no tax should have the power to leave you homeless.  And, it’s why I’ll continue to fight for Senate Bill 76 to eliminate school property taxes.