Legislative proposals to eliminate property taxes in Pennsylvania have gained steam in the Legislature, posing a serious threat to stable, predictable education funding. Most of the proposals currently before the General Assembly do not address the primary issue with property taxes in Pennsylvania — that too few state dollars are used to support public schools in the commonwealth. Pennsylvania can help seniors and working families having trouble paying their property taxes with better targeted strategies while still protecting critical investments in public education.
The latest proposal to eliminate property taxes in Pennsylvania would leave school districts with $2.6 billion less in overall funding within five years, according to an analysis from the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office.
State lawmakers in Harrisburg may vote on legislation that would eliminate school property taxes without replacing all of the lost revenue. This chartbook shows how much local tax dollars raise for public education and how much state tax rates would have to increase in order to replace those lost local school dollars.
On Monday, parents, school board members, and citizens from across Pennsylvania came to Harrisburg to fight for more school funding and a fair distribution of those funds. Today, a small group of anti-property tax activists converged on the Capitol steps and, if unchecked, threaten to derail our efforts.
“This property tax plan will do irreparable damage to a generation of Pennsylvania students. It pulls the rug out from under our public education system and ignores the real problem — that too few state dollars support our schools," PBPC Director Sharon Ward said in a statement.
While some of these tax-shifting bills have more unintended consequences than others, they all ignore the main cause of property tax issues in Pennsylvania — that too few state dollars are available to fund schools.
Pennsylvania should develop a school funding and property tax relief program that ensures adequate funding for schools, reduces the inequities between school districts, provides targeted property tax relief to individuals who face true hardship, andp targets relief to communities where high millage rates impede growth.