Lawmaker: Expand Pa. sales tax, eliminate property tax
Are you willing to pay sales tax on food and clothes, if it means saying so long to property taxes? It's a question a Berks County lawmaker wants his colleagues in Harrisburg to consider.
Republican state representative Jim Cox said he wants to eliminate property taxesand recognizes public school funds need to come from somewhere. His solution, increase the sales tax from 6% to 7% and expand what gets taxed.
"The food I bought I didn't pay tax on," said Margaret Belcastro of Wyomissing at the Redner's Market, "Nothing, I bought was prepared already.
"Just on, I think the paper goods," said Irwin Goldsten of Wyomissing.
These savvy shoppers know where their money goes. And said they don't want to pay more sales tax on food items.
"I think if you're going to start taxing people on the food they eat, you got them over barrel," said Belcastro, "People need to eat."
Even if they don't have to pay property taxes.
"I don't believe they'll ever eliminate property tax and I'm very happy to pay my property tax because it's good for the schools," said Goldstein.
"We want to shift away from that," said Republican PA Representative Jim Cox said, "If you shift to a consumer based tax move the funding from the consumer based tax system, the sales tax we can generate the funding we need to replace school property taxes with more stable funding."
Cox said schools are losing funding from property taxes because of re-assessments. His proposal is to raise income tax from 3.07% to 3.99% and to raise sales tax to 7% to include goods and services that aren't previously taxed.
"If your property taxes are $3,500 dollars you would have to pay $50,000 in stores," said Cox, "You talk to people on the street, I can convince them that it's the best idea in about two minutes. They run through it, makes sense to them."
But now he needs to convince other lawmakers.
"It'll never happen. It'll never happen," said Goldstein, "It's a nice thought, but it'll never happen."
Cox said he plans to introduce his bill in December after the Republican caucus meets at the beginning of the month.
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