Lawmakers consider eliminating property tax for Pa. residents

Author: , Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published: Oct 01 2012 11:57:49 AM EDT   Updated On: Oct 02 2012 05:32:49 AM EDT
HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Could help be on the way for Pennsylvania homeowners? A property tax elimination bill has been kicked around Harrisburg for awhile, but will the latest version pass?

"She said take a look and I looked at it and it was a 75 percent increase," said David Moll, a resident of Lehigh County, who received his property tax reassessment in February.

The increased value to Moll's home added $500 to his property tax bill, but could his entire bill be banished?

"This fight keeps continuing. We can't afford to keep paying school property taxes based on property," said Pa. Sen. Lisa Boscola,, D-Monroe/Northampton counties.

The Pennsylvania House and Senate Finance Committee on Monday reviewed two separate reports into replacing property taxes by increasing and expanding the sales tax and personal income tax.

Talk of property tax relief is nothing new in Harrisburg. What is new, at least according to those drafting the bill, are real numbers, which could very well nix, or at least drastically change the plan.

According to both reports, revenue generated by higher sales and income taxes, instead of property taxes, would hurt Pennsylvania businesses and renters and leave school districts with a $1 billion to $2 billion budget shortfall.

"There has already been a billion dollars cut from school districts with the last year," said Pa. Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware Co. "I think that makes things very uncomfortable for a lot of members on both sides of the aisle."

Pa. Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks Co., a bill co-sponsor, contends by tweaking the income tax, the billion dollar shortfall can be made up.

"Put it before a committee. Give them a chance to vote," Cox said. "That is what I'm asking for -- a chance to vote on it."

The question remains whether that vote ever go down. Lawmakers still can't say.

Meanwhile, homeowners like Moll will wait, no doubt wondering if home sweet home will one day be property tax-free.