According to House Majority Whip Stan Saylor, property tax reform will be addressed during the current legislative session. At issue are two proposals: House Bill 76, currently co-sponsored by 92 House members (102 votes needed to pass) and 22 Senate members (26 votes needed), and House Bill 1189 authored by local Rep Seth Grove.
Saylor, who says he has long supported total elimination of property taxes as a basis for school funding and has stated on numerous occasions concerning HB 76, "I would vote for it tomorrow," now has cold feet or perhaps is showing his true colors by stating that HB 76 would "have to wait another 10 or 20 years" because the votes are not there.
He should be fighting for his constituents here in York County and stop blaming other areas of the state for his inaction. He should be "whipping" up support for HB 76. He claims to be for property tax reform, yet in the 20-plus years he's been in office, he has accomplished nothing. He's a typical career politicians who will say anything to stay in office.
Under Grove's bill, school boards will have the power to reduce property taxes by creating a plethora of other local taxes. HB 1189 is an option, not a mandate. Local school boards may or may not enact this at their discretion. The local tax shift idea has been tried before in Act 50, Act 72, and Act 1, none of which passed. Having been rejected on three separate occasions, Rep. Grove is well aware that this kind of local shift is unacceptable to the taxpayers. Despite that, he will attempt it yet again in the hope that he can deceive the taxpayers into believing that they'll receive property tax "relief" and kill HB 76 at the same time.
Plus, the bill does not in any way guarantee total elimination. If the school district opts for a reduction rather than elimination, they can still continue to increase property taxes. Over time the property tax will rise to its original level, and we'll have the new taxes to pay, too.
If they choose to totally eliminate the property tax through an earned income tax, the Act 1 limits that now exist for property taxes will apply to the EIT, meaning the school district can increase the income tax each year as they can now do with the property tax.
Saylor says that he will be "all over school boards" to elect like-minded members and if they don't adopt this legislation, "vote them out." It is incredible that on one hand, our state representatives blame school boards for outrageous contracts, yet HB 1189 gives more taxing power to these same boards.
Rep Saylor should use his seniority and leadership to truly represent his constituents and get the necessary votes for HB 76 and put school funding at the state level where it constitutionally belongs.
No tax should have the power to leave you homeless.
East Hopewell Twp.