DALLAS — Patrick Musto, a Dallas resident and school board member, announced he is seeking the Republican nomination for the 117th Legislative District seat, currently held by fellow Republican, Rep. Karen Boback.
The Pennsylvania primary is Tuesday, April 28.
“I’ve seen first-hand the pain that property taxes have inflicted on the residents of Luzerne County,” Musto said in an emailed news release. “These increases, combined with the ever-increasing school taxes, have forced seniors out of their homes. I believe the state lawmakers have been remiss in their duty to the taxpayer. Nothing has changed in the landscape of this district for the last 13 years. Taxpayers are tired of lip-service from complacent legislators.”
Musto said he is a proponent of HB/SB-76, which calls for the elimination of property taxes in favor of higher state income tax and state sales tax.
“Today, Pennsylvanians are faced with a disintegrating tax base,” Musto said. “However, we are still tasked with maintaining and improving the quality of education, and we need to fund that in a more equitable manner.”
According to the news release, Musto chaired the negotiating committee during “the long and contentious strike at the Dallas School District.” He said he was instrumental in hammering out an agreement with the teachers union that included a first-ever healthcare contribution.
Musto said he also spearheaded the financing and construction of the new Dallas Intermediate School. The project was completed on time and under budget, with no change orders, he said. Over four years at Dallas, Musto said the rate of annual tax increases decreased, culminating on a 0% tax increase for 2019-2020. Musto was the finance chair during this period.
Musto said he served on the Luzerne County Board of Appeals from 2013-2018.
Musto, who dubs himself a Constitutionalist, is a King’s College graduate, where he received a bachelor of arts in education. He is the co-owner of Tuf-Tex Flooring in Plains Township. He has been married for 31 years to his wife, Valerie Hayden Musto. He has two daughters; Olivia and Gianna, both graduates of the Dallas School District.
“I know it will take time, energy, and money to defeat the incumbent,” Musto said. “I’ll be asking Republican voters if they are satisfied with the progress the legislature has made on the issues that face the Commonwealth. I see it this way. If they are happy with an annual billion dollar state budget shortfall and a $60 billion pension crisis that repeatedly gets unaddressed because we have a state legislature that is peppered with retired educators who pander to the education voting bloc, then they can go ahead and vote for my opponent.
“Frankly, I can’t imagine a true conservative Republican being satisfied with this kind of inaction in the face of these daunting and potentially catastrophic issues”.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.