Indiana, PA - Indiana County

JOHN UCCELLINI: Legislation promises property tax reform

on September 13, 2013 10:29 AM

Coming before the Pennsylvania House and Senate are House Bill 76 (HB 76) and Senate Bill 76 (SB 76) on revising Pennsylvania’s property tax.

For the first time in 30 years there is broad support in the House and Senate for property tax reform. While no property tax reform bill is perfect, HB 76 and SB 76 strike a balance in shifting the tax burden from property owners, especially seniors, to more broad-based funding sources through an increase in the personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 4.34 percent and increasing the state’s sales tax to 7 percent (8 percent in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia).

These changes will provide a stable and predictable funding source to replace Pennsylvania’s property tax. The bills are financially viable and revenue neutral.

According to state Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks, “School property tax elimination will be accomplished via a two-year phase-out of the tax. In the first fiscal year after enactment, school property taxes will be frozen at their current level; in the second year they will be completely eliminated except for a small portion that will be retained in each school district to retire the individual district’s outstanding long-term debt.”

Since the Indiana County commissioners have begun the process of property reassessment, there has been much discussion on the impact of the reassessments on the county’s property owners and especially our seniors. You can hear county residents’ concerns about the possible increase in their assessed property values and property taxes in the public meetings that have been held.

It is important for each property owner and senior citizen to become more informed on HB 76 and SB 76 and to follow these two bills as they work their way through the state Legislature. Contact Sen. Don White and Rep. Dave Reed to express your support for property tax reform. Tax relief for Pennsylvania’s seniors may finally become a reality.

John Uccellini

Indiana

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