Opponents Kristin Phillips-Hill and Ernie Merisotis both want to see property tax reform in the state of Pennsylvania. However, they differ on how to get there.

The two Republican candidates for the state 93rd House District presented ideas on how school education should be funded during a debate held Tuesday at the Goodwill Fire Hall in Jacobus by the Republican Club of York County.

Tax reform: Phillips-Hill and Merisotis, both of York Township, said they support House Bill 76, which calls for eliminating property tax and increasing sales and income tax 1 percent.

"This would be a locked-in item on the budget," said Merisotis, 49. "It would generate $12.2 billion. I think it's ridiculous our lawmakers haven't done anything on (property tax reform) until now."

However, the state also needs more than the bill to bring "real and meaningful" property tax reform, said Phillips-Hill, 48.

"We have to fix the root causes of the spending problems our schools have, and I believe it comes from Harrisburg," she said. "Unless we have pension reform, eliminate prevailing wage requirements in the school districts, we're going to burn the taxpayers every time. Pensions will increase. Raising school taxes will not cover that cost."

Transportation: While discussing the state's transportation issues, the two candidates said they want to find ways to bring more money to York County to fix roads and make traffic light changes to increase safety and relieve congestion.


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Merisotis, who has worked as a trucking company safety trainer, said the state government has been wasting money and sending too many transportation dollars to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

"We need to use common sense," he said. "We need to eliminate the prevailing wage law. Prevailing wage raises construction costs 30 to 40 percent."

Phillips-Hill, a Dallastown school board member, said she wants to make sure transportation dollars don't wind up in the state's general fund to balance the budget.

Phillips-Hill also worked as an aide at the district office of Rep. Ron Miller, who currently holds the 93rd seat.

The district: New redistricting boundaries will be in effect for the May 20 election. The 93rd will include East Hopewell, Fawn, Hopewell, North Hopewell, Springfield and York townships and the boroughs of Cross Roads, Dallastown, Fawn Grove, Jacobus, Loganville, Seven Valleys, Shrewsbury, Stewartstown, Winterstown and Yoe.

—Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.