Government & Politics
10:17 am
Wed October 16, 2013

School Property Tax Reform a Long Way Off, Some State Senators Say

As state senators consider how to address problems with a plan to eliminate school property taxes, some say the issue is too vast to be addressed by the Legislature this fall.

The proposal would replace most school districts’ property tax revenue by increasing the personal income tax and expanding and boosting the state sales tax.

Republican state Sen. Dave Argall of Schuylkill County, the plan’s sponsor, notes that in the first year of implementation, such a shift would generate enough money for school districts.

"The question that seems to be popping up however is that, you know, what about the out years, what about this — sometimes it’s called a deficit, sometimes it’s called a shortfall," Argall said.

The state’s Independent Fiscal Office says the proposal would not generate as much for school districts in later years of implementation as school property taxes if they continue to increase at historic rates.

Both Republican and Democratic state senators have said they’re not sure if an effort to get rid of school property taxes can get off the ground without a simultaneous overhaul of the school funding formula, or public employee pensions.

And there’s still much debate over how to ease property tax increases for Pennsylvanians.

The same plan to eliminate such levies was rejected by the state House.