GOP Stalls Property Tax Reform Bill

The State House Finance Committee, yesterday, June 11, voted 13-11 to table House Bill 1776 i.e.  Property Tax Independence Act (House Bill 1776), sponsored by Rep. Jim Cox (R-129)
The bill would prohibit property taxes from being used to fund public schools, replacing them dollar for dollar with increases in the sales and income taxes.
School funding makes for about 80 percent of the property tax burden in the state and about 10,000 Pennsylvanian lose their homes annually due to an inability to pay property tax.
Basically, under the current system we are renting our homes from the state.
The motion to table was made by Rep. Eli Evankovich (R-54) and nine of the 13 supporting it were Republicans. Six of the 10 Democrats on the 25-member committee voted to send the bill on to the House for a full vote.
“This proves that property tax independence is not a partisan issue,” Cox said.  “A majority of Democrats on the committee voted with us to move the bill forward.  Unfortunately, we had some Republicans who voted to stall our efforts.  Perhaps those lawmakers need to hear from their property taxpayers.”
The motion does not kill the bill, Cox says.
Cox said that  opponents argued the bill should be amended before being approved.  However, none of these members offered an amendment at today’s House Finance Committee meeting.
“I wonder about the sincerity of members who said they’d vote for the bill if it was changed, but chose not to offer any amendments,” Cox said.  “In my experience in Harrisburg, that is often a tactic used to avoid an important issue.”
Other members argued that the vote should be delayed until the bill was in pristine condition for the committee’s consideration.  However, Cox rightly pointed out that the committee did not hold other major pieces of legislation to the same standard.  House Bill 1950, which placed a fee on Marcellus Shale, was significantly amended after being approved by the House Finance Committee but before being signed into law.  Likewise, House Bill 2150, which would close a tax loophole and provide millions of dollars in tax breaks for corporations, was also amended after the House Finance Committee considered it.
“The committee seems to hold a bill that would benefit homeowners to a higher standard than it did bills that would benefit environmentalists or corporations,” Cox said.  “I think constituents are left to draw the conclusion that there appears to be two different yardsticks used to measure bills before the House Finance Committee.
“Pennsylvania homeowners now have a list of lawmakers who need to be persuaded to support the Property Tax Independence Act,” Cox said about those who voted to table the bill.  “I would hope the constituents of these representatives would reach out to the members and encourage them to support the bill in the future.”
House Finance Committee members who joined Cox in voting against the motion to table the bill include:  Rep. Ryan Aument (R-41), Rep. John Bear (R-97), Rep. Scott Boyd (R-43), Rep. Matt Bradford (D-70),  Rep. Flo Fabrizio (D-2), Rep. Adam Harris (R-82), Rep. Sid Kavulich (D-144), Rep. Rick Mirabito (D-83), Rep. Matt Smith (D-42) and Democratic Chairwoman Phyllis Mundy (D-120)
 GOP Stalls Property Tax Reform Bill
GOP Stalls Property Tax Reform Bill

3 thoughts on “GOP Stalls Property Tax Reform Bill”

  1. This bill is a scam. Property tax will not be done away with. Each district is responsible for half of the pensions which are about to balloon out of control within the next few years. The pension bill will be paid through property taxes. The legislature knows that if it is added onto t property tax that is now in place, property taxes will more than double in the next few years and they are looking for a way out (collect more money and escape what will be an outraged public when the pension explosion happens). Each dollar collected locally is a dollar which can be spent, send it to Harrisburg and you are lucky if you get back $.70. If your district was frugal and tried to hold down costs, you will receive money from Harrisburg based on what you spent this year, so conservatives districts will get less money than those who spent without restraint. Instead of dealing with the problems, like real pension reform, these legislators continue to find new ways to get more money all the while portraying themselves as resolving problems.

  2. For 10 years now, taxpayers employed in the private sector in Pennsylvania have seen their school taxes escalate at a rate greater than their salary increases and the inflation rate. For 10 years, Harrisburg politicians have talked about property tax reform bills. In the end, gutless and corrupt Harrisburg politicians have managed to kill every property tax reform paraded in front of them.

    Now along comes Pa House Bill 1776 authored by Representative Jim Cox(R). It truly is a bill that can help out homeowners and stimulate the economy. It proposes a tax shift away from the local school district level to the state level. A modest 1 percent increase in the Personal Income Tax and a 1 cent increase in the Sales Tax would be levied upon all taxpayers, thus ensuring that the cost of school funding is fairly distributed among all.

    Seniors receiving pensions and social security are as always exempt from Pennsylvania taxes and would benefit under this bill. Others would benefit too by the economic stimulation brought about by this tax shift. Increases in property values, new and existing home sales, new home construction, and business development would occur.

    Pa House Bill 1776 deserves to be heard, discussed and voted upon on the House Floor right now. Most Pennsylvanians are in favor of this bill. Yet, in just a few minutes of voting, the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee voted to table House Bill 1776 until September, effectively killing any chance of it reaching the House Floor before the November election.

    These politicians who voted to table the bill should be voted out by their constituents this November. Their constituents should phone or email the their disapproval right now.

    The names of the representatives who voted against Pa House Bill 1776 are Kerry Benninghoff, Kevin Boyle, Tim Briggs, Margo Davidson, Madeleine Dean, Gordon Denlinger, George Dunbar, Eli Evankovich, Fred Keller, Duane Milne, Mike Peifer, Kathy Rapp, and Mario Scavello. Matt Gabler is just as bad because he decided to sit on the fence and not vote at all.

  3. Amen Paul Roscoe. Good post. Let’s vote these selfish clowns out and make them go to work for a living. I just hope they won’t be able to afford to pay their property taxes.

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