Plans to eliminate property taxes unveiled by state lawmaker

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A bill is unveiled in the Statehouse to eliminate property taxes. The bill would raise taxes elsewhere to make up for the property tax elimination.

House Bill 13, also known as School Property Tax Elimination Act, will be introduced by Rep. Frank Ryan of Lebanon County.

"This is not going to be an easy sell," said Rep. Ryan. "It's controversial. It's never been done before."

HB13 would eliminate property taxes, which brings in about $15 billion a year. It would make up for that loss by increasing sales and personal income taxes each by about two percent. It would also add a nearly five percent tax on non-social security retirement incomes, which has arguably become the most controversial part of the bill.

"I've paid taxes my entire life I get that," said Rep. Ryan. "But my costs don't go away to my community because I'm older."

However, some believe the state should not take such a risk by eliminating 100 percent of property tax at once. Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials are for relief of property taxes, but believes it needs to be done in a less risky way than Rep. Ryan is proposing, like making sure these other tax increases can bring in $5 billion a year, let alone the $15 billion needed to make up for the total property tax elimination.

"The leap of faith at the $15 billion, there's no going back, there's no safety net and you're on the high wire," said Tim Schrom, PASBO Director of Research. "So, there's a lot that could go wrong and a lot of unknowns."

Rep. Ryan plans to go around the state to talk to people, specifically seniors, about this bill.

More information on the property tax elimination plan can be found here.

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