State Representative Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) has been appointed to a new committee focused on property taxes and funding for public education. The House Select Committee on Property Taxes will meet for the first time on Monday, August 13 and will begin hearing ideas for a solution to the issue.
Established in June, the purpose of the committee is to investigate, review, and propose changes regarding the relationship between school districts and local government tax and funding levels from federal and state programs.
Wheatley said this issue has been a problem for the city of Pittsburgh for several years. “The only tax structures that the local government has to meet the mandates of educating our students are through property taxes, so that’s the relationship. Property taxes are primarily the largest support, financial support to our districts from the local level,” Wheatley said.
The group will consist of 13 members appointed by the House majority and minority leaders from the Education, Finance, Urban Affairs, Local Government, Environmental Resources and Energy, and Transportation committees.
Wheatley said this is the first step on the way to the House adopting new policies to change the system. “They could build upon that. If the General Assembly so wills and if the people so will that the recommendations we’ve come out with make sense, then we could take it up again in a new session and possibly try to institutionalize some of these recommendations via getting them passed into law,” Wheatley said.
The committee must report its findings with its recommendations to the House by November 30, the last day of the current session.