The General Assembly has once again taken a highly questionable position in ordering a stop to court ordered reassessments. One can hope that the Governor will not sign the latest version of the bill, which applies only to Washington County.
Legislation overturning court rulings that are clearly based on the Pennsylvania Constitution is an assault on the Constitution and the balance of power contained therein. Where does it end? Indeed, what happens when the Supreme Court rules the legislation unconstitutional? Will the law be enforced or not? Who has the power to enforce when the law says one thing and the courts say different?
This is an ill-advised slippery slope for the Legislature to be taking. Qui bono? Who benefits? The majority in the legislative bodies must not confuse temporary electoral expedience with fealty to their oath to defend and obey the Constitution. They might not like what the Constitution requires but that is dealt with an amendment process-not by flouting the Constitution. There is not enough good to be gained from this action to justify the long term harm that will come from taking it.
The irony is that the Legislature has known about the problems with Pennsylvania’s assessment statutes and the morass of assessment schemes across the state for a long time and has failed in its duty to write new bills to bring the state into the 20th century.
The Governor should ask some of his constitutional experts about the advisability of signing this legislation.