Education Voters of Pa. have been misleading in their criticisms of SB/HB 76, which eliminates school property taxes.
As reported in the Times Leader article, “Advocates: Pa plan to ax school property taxes not as advertised,” Executive Director Susan Spicka notes that the property tax would stay in place to pay off the debt but fails to mention readily available details.
Using Crestwood School District as an example, an estimated 15 percent of school property tax is used for debt service. After SB/HB 76 passes, the school property tax bill in the district will be 15 percent of what it is currently. A property tax bill of $1,000 would be $150 after the bill passes, decline as each bond is paid off and disappear entirely after the last bond is paid.
No new property tax funded debt will be allowed.
Spicka’s speculation that Crestwood would see a decline in state funding after SB/HB 76 passes is incorrect. The bill uses increases in income and sales tax revenue to replace the school property tax, district for district, dollar for dollar. These increases are 100 percent dedicated to school funding and go to a lock box account in Harrisburg, out of the hands of politicians and totally unrelated to the funding formula.
Honest fair-funding advocates have joined the fight for the bill. Wealthy special interests are united against it. It’s time for honest citizens to join together to end school property taxes and move closer to fair and adequate school funding by urging our legislators to pass SB/HB 76.