STOP the Pennsylvania Property Tax Independence Act
This petition had 267 supporters
THIS IS A PETITION ADDRESSED TO PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENTS ONLY.
At first glance, this bill could sound somewhat fair. Why not remove the school portion of property taxes and replace it with more income and sales taxes. It could alleviate the burden on some, who may need help, and put it on others who are more apt at carrying it. Well, this is where this stops making sense.
Please read the arguments below and share this petition with all the Pennsylvanians you can reach, and your state senator, house representative and the office of Governor Wolf; if you share this opinion.
For it to be as powerful as possible, please call them, email them and fax your email to them. Also, don't forget to sign this petition and to share it with people near and FAR.
You can find the contact information for you state legislators at the address below:
Governor Tom Wolf can be contacted here:
More information, including the summary of the bill being discussed can be found on the following links:
· This will not “spread the wealth” equitably
o The poorest in our state will be hurt, at least in the beginning, with higher costs for basic items and no immediate rent decrease
§ A tax on basic items, such as food, clothing, daycare and public transportation is regressive and therefore will affect the poorest dis-proportionally more
§ Their rents will not decrease immediately as a result of lower property taxes, and if/when they do (ever heard of rent decrease?), lower rent may not totally offset the burden of added income and sales tax
§ Poorest districts will continue levying significant school property taxes to pay down existing debt, adding to their financial burden
§ The disparity in funding between poorer and richer districts is not addressed by this bill, as existing inequities between school districts would be fixed into the new system and carried forward
o The results on businesses will be mixed
§ While businesses will see an initial decrease in their tax burden, additional sales taxes will put significant pressure on their revenues
§ Also, additional income tax will make Pennsylvania less competitive as a potential employer – just ask companies operating in Philadelphia
§ Finally, businesses make “business decisions”, and therefore should be able to know how to plan for property tax increases when purchasing property
o Retirees will broadly benefit from this tax bill
§ If the purpose is to assist retirees handle property tax increases, there are much better ways than to turn the tax system upside down
§ It is important to remember that retirees once had access to “subsidized” public education, for their children and for themselves, and it is only fair that they offer the same to the next generation
· The complexity of managing the finances of 500 school districts will overwhelm the State; administratively, politically and financially
o The State will need to hire additional staff
§ To manage the additional cash flows (40% increase in budget)
§ To address the different needs of 500 school districts
o The State will be embroiled in constant political fighting and will have to make sharing decision it is not set-up to do
§ Why do certain districts spend twice as much as others per pupil?
§ How will the State manage the many school districts running a yearly deficit? The IFO expects the new tax system will create an additional deficit up to $1 billion in the next few years.
§ Is one district more deserving of new capital spending than another
· Imagine the reaction of 490 school districts when 10 districts make a request for $5 million in capital improvement each – anarchy will follow
· The result will be either overspending due to the other 490 asking for their “fair” share, or
· Under spending due to the State’s inability to finance it all
§ How will it manage 500 different population growth, level of services, teacher pay, etc., and try to normalize it all
o The state will be taking on an added responsibility of financing
§ The budget of the 500 school districts will increase the State’s budget by 40%
§ The State is already running a deficit; how will it manage the deficit of most of the 500 school districts?
§ Pennsylvania will lose $600 million in income to the federal government due to sales taxes (non-deductible) replacing real estate taxes (deductible)
§ It will be extremely difficult for the State to raise capital when districts need new buildings
§ Where will the State find the funds during the next recession?
· Tax increases
· More borrowing
· Or will school districts have to let go of teachers
· School districts will not be able to manage their operations
o Income and sales taxes are too unpredictable to fund school district expenses
§ Switching from property taxes to income and sales taxes will create a revenue stream that does not strictly follow inflation, but a mix of inflation and economic cycles
§ Revenues from income and state taxes through the latest economic downturn declined and did not reach previously achieved levels until several years later, let alone track inflation
o School districts won’t be able to make any long-term plans without having the ability to raise taxes or borrow money
§ How will they negotiate long-term teacher contracts
§ How about plan for new buildings and equipment
Pennsylvania legislators have been receiving an unusually large number of calls on this issue, even though the majority of PA residents are not aware of the issue, but together we can make it an overwhelming number, and hopefully help them realize this is not the right solution.
Finally, we need to voice our concern regarding the lack of communication from our Pennsylvania legislators on this issue. This bill concerns all of us, and even though many legislators have tried to pass it in past years, the vast majority of Pennsylvanians are unaware of it. Please let them know this is unacceptable and it is their responsibility to educate us at the local level; emailing or just mailing us all should do the trick.
We need to know how each Pennsylvania legislator feels about this issue so that we know how to vote next time they are up for election.
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