Property Tax Proposal May Give School Districts Choices

By Melissa Daniels
for The Pennsylvania Independent

HARRISBURG PA – Pennsylvania politicians “been dealing with property taxes in this state longer than I’ve been alive,” a York County state representative admits. But he’s proposing that, this fall, legislators have yet another go at the topic, with a plan that would give local school districts like Pottsgrove, Pottstown and Spring-Ford more taxing flexibility.

20130829-PropertyTaxBill-GoogleImagesRep. Seth Grove, R-York, admits his most recent proposal confronts an issue that, so far, neither the state House or Senate can solve, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported Wednesday (Aug. 28, 2013). He proposes to allow districts to levy other types of taxes that would eventually replace property taxes locally. It would be left up to individual districts whether they want to change their system or keep the status quo.

Replacement taxes could include taxes on wages and taxes on business receipts.

Unlike statewide options that have failed to get out of a committee, Grove’s proposal doesn’t force school districts to abandon property taxes in favor of others, The Independent reported. It doesn’t change district funding formulas either, an issue Grove said he supports but often gets tangled up with property taxes.

Grove told The Independent the flexibility of a tax shift will make his proposal appealing to lawmakers as they return in September.

“Those that want to move away from property taxes because it hasn’t been an appropriate method of taxation, this gives those school districts the ability to do that,” Grove said. “For those who want to reduce reliance, it has those options as well.”

Collectively, those new taxes would be called an “elimination tax,” which would offset the property tax millage rate, and lower property owners’ tax bills.  Once that property tax millage rate is offset, elimination tax increases could not be raised above limits already outlined in state law.

Photo from Google Images