I live in the Abington Heights School District, which is currently enduring a school teacher’s strike. These labor disputes pit residents, teachers and school boards against each other. Teachers want to be fairly compensated but property owners don’t want to see their property taxes increased yet again.
In Pennsylvania, approximately 10,000 people each year lose their homes because of unpaid property taxes. Senior citizens and others living on fixed incomes are especially vulnerable to the financial hardship created by constantly rising property taxes. Older Pennsylvanians are literally being taxed out of their homes.
We have a property tax assessment system that is arcane, haphazard and frustrating to navigate. I know this from personal experience. Our state’s constitution requires uniformity in taxation, and the only way to ensure uniformity in property taxation is for each county to conduct timely county-wide property assessments. Yet, our county leaders have not conducted an assessment in almost 50 years.
The solution to these problems and others is a bill currently under consideration by the Pennsylvania Senate and House. It is called The Property Tax Independence Act (House Bill/Senate Bill 76). This bill would eliminate school property taxes and replace them with a slight increase in sales taxes and income taxes. This bill would generate even more income for our schools, while changing public education funding to a revenue stream that takes a little from everyone rather than a larger amount from some.
Pennsylvania residents who believe in fair taxation must contact their Senate and House leaders immediately to express their support for this common-sense bill.