May 13, 2015

House Passes Bill To Reduce School Property Taxes By Billions

School property taxes would be lower in every district in Pennsylvania under House Bill 504 (Gabler-R-Clearfield) passed the House Wednesday by a vote of 105-86, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) said.
“Our property tax reduction plan provides nearly $5 billion in property tax relief to our citizens,” Rep. Reed said. “It’s a responsible, balanced approach addressing a problem we have been discussing here in Pennsylvania for decades.”
House Bill 504 would ensure that every new dollar generated through the proposed changes be fully dedicated to school property tax relief.  
It would change the Personal Income Tax rate to 3.7 percent and the Sales and Use Tax rate to 7 percent -- without expanding what’s taxed. Items currently exempt, such as day care, school books and nursing home care, would remain exempt.
The plan would generate and distribute nearly $5 billion in total relief. The bill includes a $125 million expansion of the Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program, which benefits low- to middle-income senior citizens and disabled residents across the state.
“This legislation will achieve what many thought was impossible,” Rep. Reed said. “This property tax relief bill increases the Commonwealth’s commitment to schools while reducing the property tax burden to our taxpayers. The cost controls included in the bill make sure the tax reductions stay in place, ensuring long-term relief.”
Rep. Reed said in many areas of the state some people have been forced to choose between paying their taxes, or buying food and medicine, and it shouldn’t be that way. The property tax relief bill provides a significant step forward toward increasing the fairness of how the state funds public education.
A summary and House Fiscal Note are available. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
House Democratic Leaders released the following statement on the bipartisan passage of House Bill 504, which includes an amendment that would provide historic levels of homeowner property tax relief in Pennsylvania.
"For too long, homeowners in Pennsylvania have been forced to bear a disproportionate and unfair share of the burden for funding our schools. They need relief now. This vote shows we are serious about providing that relief.
"It shows that in Pennsylvania, Democrats and Republicans can work together to find solutions to difficult problems. We don't all agree on the details of a final property tax relief plan yet, but we do agree that the effort to reduce property taxes for homeowners in Pennsylvania must continue moving forward as part of this year's budget discussion. We must give homeowners the relief they need and find a fairer way to fund our schools.
"Sending this bill to the Senate is the beginning of the conversation, not the end.
"Gov. Wolf has shown great leadership on this issue. He's made historic property tax relief a priority in his budget and has taken a very active and personal role in helping to move the discussions forward. We want to continue working with him and our Republican colleagues to create a property tax relief plan that's fair for all our homeowners and good for all our school districts.
"We are determined to do what we can to finally make significant statewide property tax relief for homeowners a reality."  
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