We have been hearing from naysayers that HB 1776/SB 1400, which would replace the current school property tax system, stands no chance of passing. Well, if this is true it's because of the Stockholm-like syndrome that plagues Harrisburg, and, apparently, many voters who have become secure with a system that is slowly drowning them.
And when a lifeline is thrown out, they believe the politicians who tell them not to grab it.
Even if you manage to pay off your mortgage, it is hardly cause to celebrate when you realize that you must still put aside the amount you were paying into "escrow" just to cover your property tax obligation. For school taxes of $5,000 per year, $416 is the monthly "rent" paid to the state of Pennsylvania, under the guise of actually "owning" your property.
And this amount will continue to increase exponentially for the rest of our lives.
HB1776/SB1400 increases the sales tax to 7 percent and expands its application and increases the personal income tax. Even if you spent $1,000 in a month on taxed items, that's $70 in sales tax. That's $840 per year. Under this new plan, schools would be funded based on enrollment, not archaic, arbitrary, and inequitable property assessments. Furthermore, it does not interfere with local decision-making.
Most legislators claim to support efforts to reform the school tax system, and yet criticize HB1776/SB1400 at every opportunity. They claim citizens of Pennsylvania don't want to pay $1.40 more for a $20 hair cut, or 10 cents more for their Sunday paper. They misinform at every opportunity and fail to explain that removing onerous property taxes would cause businesses to flock to Pennsylvania, thus creating more jobs and opportunities and be a boom to the real estate market.
It confounds me that "leaders" like state Rep. Stan Saylor would rather thwart than champion this effort.
East Hopewell Twp.