Legislation could eliminate property taxes in Pennsylvania

Bill sponsored by Berks lawmaker

It's being called the first step to eliminate property taxes in Pennsylvania. A constitutional amendment sponsored by a Berks County lawmaker would change the amount of home value that can be excluded from taxes.

That's if voters approve the change in November's election.

State Rep. David Maloney has a framed constitutional amendment ballot from the early 1900s on his wall.

This year, he hopes voters will again amend the state constitution by taking a step toward eliminating property taxes.

"There's often an uncertainty when it comes to property taxes when associated with home ownership," said Maloney, a Pike Township Republican who sponsored the legislation.

Current law allows a taxing district to exclude up to 50 percent of the jurisdiction's median home value, which means if the median home value in a community is $100,000, each home in that community could have up to $50,000 excluded from property taxes. 

If the constitutional amendment passes, the language would be changed to allow exclusion of taxes on 100 percent of each individual home's assessed value, if the taxing district agrees to do so.

"That's a piece of the equation that will have to be worked out, but as it stands now, it says 'may,' it doesn't say 'shall,'" said Maloney.

Maloney said passing the amendment allows lawmakers in Harrisburg to draft legislation requiring school districts, counties, and local municipalities to not collect property taxes.

There also needs to be a plan to replace the lost revenue, meaning a possible increase in other state taxes.

"We will have to really craft enabling legislation to make it work," added Maloney.

Maloney told 69 News there have been preliminary talks about replacing property tax dollars at the state capital, but he said lawmakers need to see if the constitutional amendment passes on November 7.

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