School property tax reform to take center stage at public forum on Tuesday

HARRISBURG – Two key state Senate committees will host a forum on Tuesday evening to dive deeper into proposals to eliminate and reform school property taxes in Pennsylvania.

At the request of Senator Tom McGarrigle (R-Delaware), the Senate Majority Policy and Democratic Policy Committees will host a roundtable discussion with organizations interested in school property tax elimination and reform during a public forum regarding the property tax problem.

Senate Majority Policy Committee Chairman David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks), who is a sponsor of a bill to eliminate school property taxes, says the issue is too large to ignore.

“We would like to continue the conversation to find the best way forward,” he said. “It does not matter which corner of the state you are in or what political party you identify with, school property taxes continue to dominate the priorities Pennsylvanians want the General Assembly to address. This bipartisan public forum will put a lot of the ideas on the table.”

Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh), who chairs the Senate Democratic Policy Committee added, “As a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 76 and an advocate who has fought to eliminate property taxes throughout her career, I am encouraged by this bipartisan approach. Pennsylvania’s seniors, working families and all homeowners expect and deserve decisive action this session.”

Senator Tom McGarrigle (R-Delaware), who is hosting the event, said property tax reform is an issue of concern for the residents of the 26th Senatorial District.

“I am looking forward to discussing the reform of school property taxes with the Senate Policy Committees, stakeholders, and the community.  It is vital that the local residents and school districts who will be directly impacted by any type of reform are provided an open forum where their voices can be heard.”

The forum will feature a presentation by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations, the statewide grassroots organization comprised of volunteers who drafted Senate Bill 76, which would eliminate school property taxes by shifting to an increased Personal Income Tax and increased and expanded Sales and Use Tax. Also invited are the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the National Federation of Independent Business, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, the Pennsylvania Apartment Association, the Pennsylvania Residential Owners Association and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau as well as local stakeholders.

Other proposals that will be discussed include: school property tax freeze for senior citizens, a Constitutional amendment to allow for the total elimination of school property taxes for homeowners only, local options for school districts to either reduce or eliminate school property taxes, as well as property tax reassessment reform.

The forum will take place at the Upper Darby Township Municipal Building, 100 Garrett Road, Upper Darby, PA 19082 on Tuesday, August 15 at 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend and there will be a period for questions from local residents.

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