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.
Stay with FOX43 for updates on this story.

 

 

6 comments

  • MyTakeOnIt

    So, let's see, if you work in PA and buy things in PA, you should fit all of the bill. If you own a home in PA and use municipal services, you shouldn't.

    How about a mix? If it is largely unfair to homeowners, ease the burden by spreading the bill out, not by eliminating it from one class of people. Not everyone cares to own a home and eliminating property taxes will not make a difference. Besides, shifting the burden makes it harder to save for a home.

    • Joe

      Are you forgetting that renters also pay through their rents which include the apartment property tax? However, rather than raising the income tax which affects only those who actually work or have investments, I would raise the sales tax to 9%. That way everybody pays at least something, even drug dealers, public assistance recipients and non-residents who buy anything in PA.

    • Yorker

      We already have a mix in that there is both a property tax and school tax that is dumped on homeowners. You also have 500 different school districts with administrative costs to match, to say nothing of a funding formula that is woefully out of date piggybacking on assessment data that in some places is 50 years out of date. It is very clear that some sort of streamlining is in order and perhaps moving school funding to income and sales tax is the way to go since it doesn't rely on assessment data that is spotty at best.

  • TheOpinionatedOne

    The problem with property tax as the basis for school funding, is, the powers that be who decide how much to spend just continue to increase spending. I see no end in sight to this malicious practice. There is no attempt to cut costs, but it seems they find ways to spend more of the homeowners' funds, and dig deeper into our pockets. More and more fancy school buildings so school districts can brag that they have the best and brightest school buildings in the area. I've said it before, all schools in PA should be built using one model that can be modified to meet the individual school district's needs. Remember the one-room schools? They were all the same, and education didn't cost what it does today, AND, in my opinion, students received a better education than the students of today are receiving. Yep, schools in a box works for me. How about the rest of you? Another cost saving measure which has been suggested is to do away with administrations at individual school districts, and use COUNTY school administrations instead. Our small school district has a superintendent, and he has an assistant. Not to mention the staff necessary to support their positions. A principal and asst. principal at each building, and staffing to support those positions. The problem with the proposed elimination of property tax as proposed by our esteemed legislators is that they are putting a carrot in front of rabbits (that would be us, their constituents.) The politicians in my district are up for re-election, and they are bragging up HB76, and they actually campaigned on the same old, same old property tax elimination platforms before when they were running for re-election. Folks, when the dust settles, and the elections are history, our legislators are going to do NOTHING, they are just trying to keep their jobs! HB76 would work because it would spread the cost of education among all Pennsylvanians, and not just property owners.

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