Property Tax Elimination Act would increase sales and personal income taxes

Homeowners and lawmakers are calling for an elimination of school property taxes, but some people say this bill could hurt Pennsylvania students.
It’s controversial because not only would it increase sales tax, but it also increases personal income tax and that’s something some say they just can’t afford.
85-year-old Ann Steen of Ephrata moved into her home back in 1976.
Steen lives on a fixed income and now she has to sell her home because she can’t afford the taxes.
“I’m frustrated, I’m very upset because we build the house and now to see it go…just because of taxes,” says Steen.
Lawmakers and people with the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition have spoken out tirelessly against the current school property tax in the state.
“The way we fund our public schools today is based on an unfair model from the 1830’s.” says Sen. David Argall, of the 29th legislative district.
Argall says they’re working on House and Senate Bill 76, which is known as the “Property Tax Elimination Act”.
It would essentially eliminate all school property taxes across the commonwealth by using current income taxes and sales taxes to fund schools.
It would raise personal income tax from 3.07% to 4.34% and increase sales tax from 6% to 7%.
“How in the world can we protect our property if we’re only paying rent to our school districts,” says Sen. Mike Folmer, of the 48th legislative district.
But, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.
Mike Wood with the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center says there’s not enough state funding for schools to begin with, and taking more money away would damage students.
“It leaves a gap and that gap gets bigger over time as we have a gap for funding it means fewer funding for our kids bigger class sizes and just a generation of kids that would be hurt by this,” says Wood.
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at the Capitol.
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