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LETTER: No need for complicated school tax reform
One of the advantages of serving in the military is being exposed to different individuals, communities, cultures and governments. I recently realized this included the local governments.
Prior to owning a home in Pennsylvania, I never experienced school property taxes. I have lived in five other states, none of which have a complicated way of funding their school systems. Speaking to my neighbors and state representatives, it appears that there are solutions out there to properly fund the schools without adding this huge burden on the homeowner.
Each proposed bill I see talks about raising sales tax and personal income tax so the state and covers the majority of the cost. I see a lot of support for this. The consensus is that this would be a revenue neutral plan. I will go a step further and say it would generate more revenue for the schools. If we have homeowners with a sizable monthly savings it stands to reason that at least some of that savings will be spent on taxable goods and services.
I have also heard arguments that some districts are planning special projects and are counting on raising taxes to get them done. There is one bill that would eliminate school property tax and allow for this. The stipulation is it must be brought to the people for a vote. I can get behind that. I believe it will prevent districts from taking on huge unnecessary expenses. Do you need Astroturf or do you just want it really bad?
Recently I have seen attack ads against new plans. "He wants to tax this, they want to tax that." As a voter I found this insulting. There are currently more than 40 categories of goods and services that are not taxable. Some of them I understand because it is for the general good of the public such as medical services and utilities. For others it is plainly obvious it was to the advantage of a large industry and not the everyday Pennsylvanian.
Properly funding the schools is essential. The point I am making is that should be done fairly because we all benefit from it and no one should lose their home because they cannot afford to pay the school taxes. These proposed bills are along the lines of what most other states have been successfully doing for decades.