Property Tax Reform, Get the Facts on the Proposed Constitutional Amendment
Main Line Public TV at Radnor Studio 21 Published on Oct 29, 2017 Runtime 33:35
Lawrence Feinberg, Co-Chairman, Keystone State Education Coalition; Roberta Winters, President League of Women Voters; Joel Sears, President, York County Tax Payers Council; Susan Spicka, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA
WITF Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 31, 2017 7:07 PM
(Harrisburg) -- When Pennsylvanians go to the polls next Tuesday, they'll have a rare opportunity to vote to change the state constitution. They'll decide via ballot measure whether to make property tax elimination an option. However, it would only be the first step in a long process. Property tax rates largely depend on how much school districts and local governments decide to exempt from taxation. Right now, state law lets them exclude up to 50 percent of an area's median home value. The ballot measure would increase that cap to 100 percent--so jurisdictions could opt to totally eliminate property taxes. But it's not quite that simple. The elimination can't happen until there's a replacement source of revenue--either from the state or local level. Republican Representative David Maloney of Berks County, who sponsored the referendum measure, noted there's still no consensus in that area.
Capitol Digest by Crisci Associates Op-Ed By Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh) & Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) October 31, 2017
On November 7 the citizens of Pennsylvania will have an opportunity to cast their vote for an important ballot question which could lead to real property tax reform. We are urging citizens to vote yes. Due to its legal language and structure, ballot questions are often written in confusing and hard-to-understand and this one is no different. However, the underlying issue is pretty straight forward. By voting yes, voters will approve a constitutional amendment to expand the homestead exclusion from one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead properties in a taxing district to up to 100 percent of the assessed value of each homestead property. Essentially, if approved, this would allow local taxing authorities – school districts, municipalities – to offer not only a reduction in a homeowner’s property tax, but also potentially the elimination of their local property tax.
Trib Live JAMIE MARTINES | Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, 11:48 a.m.
Local teachers say it's possible for an 18-year-old in Pennsylvania to head to the polls next week without a sense of how their government works. “There is literally nothing that they know when I get them,” said Jeff Biros, who teaches American Government and Civics for 11th- and 12th-graders at Gateway High School in Monroeville. Biros, a former state legislative analyst who has been teaching social studies in the Gateway district for 13 years, said one of his goals is to help students understand that the Constitution is more than words on paper. “In the end, if you don't understand it, then that's all it becomes,” Biros said. “There's no life behind it. And if you don't know your rights, you'll surrender them.” A bill in the state Senate aims to help teachers like Biros prepare their students to understand and participate in government. “I often say, the unfortunate thing today is, if you ask someone to identify three members of the U.S. Supreme Court, it's probably easier for them to identify the judges on American Idol,” said Sen. John Rafferty (R-Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties), the bill's primary sponsor.
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