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Issue Position: Property Taxes

Issue Position

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Eliminating Property Tax on Primary Homesteads a More Achievable Approach

In January 2008, a plan came to the House floor to eliminate the school property tax on all real estate, including commercial property. I voted in favor of it, as did all the representatives from Berks County, but the vote came out 47 to 148 against. That shows how difficult it becomes when trying to eliminate the school property tax on everything.

I believe we have been stuck in the status quo regarding property taxes for the last 10 to 20 years because some legislators have been trying to eliminate the school property tax on homesteads and commercial property. We need to concentrate on eliminating the school property tax on primary homes first. I have talked about this from day one as your State Representative.

That is why I am working with Rep. Tim Seip on House Bill 1965, which would eliminate the school property tax on primary homes only. To eliminate the school property tax on all properties, we would need to generate about $16 billion. By comparison, finding $6 to $7 billion to eliminate the school property tax for primary homes is much more achievable.

House Bill 1965 has been formally introduced and would be accompanied by House Bill 1966, a proposed amendment to the state Constitution, which would allow us to eliminate the school property tax on primary homes. Under the current Constitution, we cannot go beyond a 50 percent reduction. Other plans being discussed would also require a constitutional amendment.

House Bill 1965 would generate revenue to eliminate the school property tax on primary homes by expanding the 6 percent sales tax to other services and goods that are not currently being taxed. The sales tax rate would remain at 6 percent, and the current tax exemptions for food, clothing and medical expenses would remain in place.


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