There is only one question on the Pennsylvania primary ballot this year and it's asking people to agree to an increase of income taxes in return for a cut in property taxes to fund school districts. This is a bad idea on many levels. It would require filing yet another tax return because not only would your earned income be taxed but interest and investments. The law says that revenue generated by the new tax should be used to offset property taxes but there is no guarantee of that happening.
We were sold a bill of goods saying that the slots money would be used to reduce our property taxes but we haven't seen a dime of that money yet. So why this proposal?
In the Wilkes-Barre Area School District where I live that question is framed like this; Voters in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District will find a referendum on the ballot May 15 asking if they favor increasing the earned income tax by 0.4 percent in exchange for an estimated $244 reduction in property taxes. Those who own eligible homesteads and have applied for the exemption would be eligible for the property tax cut.
Jennifer has the trade offs involved:
For a certain group of people (i.e. seniors on a fixed income who own their own homes), voting for Act 1 makes sense. For another group of people (i.e. people who work but do not own a home), voting against Act 1 makes sense.
For people like me (i.e. people who work and own a home), it's a bit of a toss-up. What you might gain in property tax reductions, you'll probably lose to the increased income tax. I also suspect that the increased income tax may end up being the larger of the two numbers, so if I vote "yes" for Act 1, I'd actually be volunteering to increase my own tax burden.
PACleanSweep objects on constitutional grounds:
Article III, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states: "The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth."
And also points out:
If the Act 1 referendum is approved, some taxpayers will win and some taxpayers will lose, but the majority of losers would be working families, renters and small businesses. Property taxes would not be reduced on rental or business properties and any tax rebates for other properties would not be keyed to property or assessment value. On average, a two-income home owning household in Pennsylvania would experience an overall tax increase.
2 hours ago