HARRISBURG – The House Select Committee on Property Tax met Monday at the State Capitol to gather testimony regarding property tax reform proposals.
Senator David G. Argall, R-Schuylkill, testified on behalf of legislation he sponsored, Senate Bill 1400. Deemed the “Property Tax Independence Act,” the bill would eliminate school district property taxes by expanding and raising the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent and increasing the state’s personal income tax from 3.07 to 4 percent.
House Resolution 774, sponsored by Rep. Tom Quigley, R-Montgomery, established the committee charged with studying tax revenues, assessments, school spending and other issues relating to the property tax in Pennsylvania.
Argall, who recently testified at a Senate Finance Committee public hearing on Senate Bill 1400, explained the burden property taxes place on residents throughout the state. After recognizing Representatives on the committee from Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties, Argall noted recent reassessment issues pushing the property tax issue to the top of more legislators’ priority lists.
“This issue has gained a lot of steam and generated a lot of public interest with reassessment controversies in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas,” said Argall, who sponsored the Property Tax Independence Act on behalf of thousands of constituents who support the complete elimination of school district property taxes. “The hearing in the House continues to show the importance of this issue. I’m grateful for the opportunity to testify on behalf of this important legislation that has had to the input of thousands of Pennsylvanians.”
Along with Argall, the committee heard from Representatives Seth Grove, R-York, and Dave Maloney, R-Berks, on other property tax reform-related proposals.
“I think everyone on the House committee agreed with me that the school district property tax is a very old and archaic way to fund our public schools. My message to the State Representatives today was to find a new and fairer way to fund our schools and eliminate this tax for all time,” said Argall.
Argall noted that, in other states, the issue has been resolved by court action. “If we don’t pass serious property tax elimination, the courts may mandate a switch to something that is not as popular or equitable as Senate Bill 1400.”
Contact: Jon Hopcraft