Op-Ed: Property Tax Reform: A Bipartisan, Common Sense Solution

By: Senator David G. Argall (R-29)
Senator John Yudichak (D-14)
Representative Doyle Heffley (R-122)

A recent editorial in the Times News (“Let taxpayers decide,” May 10) highlighted the frustrations that taxpayers have endured due to the state’s antiquated property tax system. The author pointed out many of the weaknesses of the current system and offered an extremely promising solution to the problem – greater public involvement. We could not agree more.

While the state has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 175 years, our system of funding public education is little different today than during the days of the one-room schoolhouse. Everyone agrees that this system is no longer suitable to fund our schools, but the General Assembly has tried and failed to reach a consensus on the best way to fix the system for decades. The problem is complex, but the solution may be simple. If we cannot reach an agreement in Harrisburg, we should allow taxpayers to decide for themselves.

Last month, we joined together to introduce bipartisan legislation that would allow voters to eliminate or greatly reduce the school property tax and choose between the top four property tax replacement proposals in the General Assembly. The property tax proposals would be placed on the ballot and voters would then be given the opportunity to choose between the various proposals to create a better system to fund public education.

This is not a Republican or Democrat issue; it is a fairness issue that affects taxpayers throughout the state. This proposal would give schools the funding they need and finally give taxpayers the reform they deserve. We are hopeful that this legislation will be the first step toward meaningful property tax reform by simply allowing taxpayers to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

Contact: Jon Hopcraft
(717) 787-2637
(570) 773-0891

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