Government
6:07 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Property Tax Committee Starts Working

A hearing on legislation designed to bring about property tax reform on the local level was held today in Harrisburg.  State Representative Thomas Quigley (R-Montgomery) said the House Select Committee on Property Tax is a bipartisan panel whose members will investigate and review the inner relationship between the current sources of school and local government tax revenue with a focus on property taxes.  

"We decided to incorporate some of the expertise and some of the knowledge of members from the education committee, finance committee, urban affairs committee, local government, environmental resources and energy committee and transportation committee," Quigley said.

The Republican lawmaker said the goal is to have a report or list of recommendations by November 30th.  The commitee will examine the  property tax issue in the commonwealth as it relates to municipalities and school districts via public hearings and citizens' testimony in Harrisburg.  Quigley said the committee will look at the issue from all angles and will explore all types of resolutions, including a statewide assessment plan.

"A lot of people with townships, boroughs, school districts, like that idea of being able to control their own finances, their own communities," Quigley said.  "I think it's always going to be tough to try to convince everyone that a statewide plan would work but certainly nothing's off the table as we approach this committee and the work we're going to look at."

Quigley said the committee addresses Pennsylvanians' frustration with the issue, and shows the commonwealth's residents that property tax concerns have not been forgotten.

"We're looking forward to getting the committee up and running today and starting our hearings in the near future, and hopefully being able to come up with some type of recommendations or list of recommendations that'll be workable within the House of Representatives."

Several legislative proposals have been floated this year including a statewide property assessment process and a freeze on court-ordered assessments.  Allegheny County is in the process of implementing a reassessment ordered by Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick.  Quigley couldn't say whether such a freeze on assessments ordered by judges would be retroactive and apply to Allegheny County.