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A great piece from G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young. RIP: The School Property Tax! Click here.

We need property tax reform now! Speakers cheer on House, Senate bills 76. Click here.

Your home's equity is being stolen! How property taxes are reducing your home's value. Click here.

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Personal Property Tax Independence Act Tax Calculator
Excel calculator to see your tax savings under the provisions ofThe Property Tax Independence Act. Now includes calculations for Philadelphia property tax reduction!

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Why school property taxes need to be eliminated!
Two excellent essays on the fallacy of property taxes for education funding.


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PTCC Update

13 September 2010

Dear Friends,

There’s been very little news to report since the last PTCC Update in May but with the November general election approaching it’s time to get back to the business of property tax elimination. Today’s update will be a compilation of short news briefs and action items about the property tax issue.

Unfortunately, we lost our best chance of a fast track to the enactment of the School Property Tax Elimination Act (SPTEA) with Representative Sam Rohrer’s defeat in the May gubernatorial primary election. My thanks go out to all of you who worked so hard on Sam’s campaign and to those who voted for him. Despite Sam’s loss we will continue to pursue new and already-established methods of support for the SPTEA and will need your ongoing help if we are to succeed.

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SPTEA 2011 Reintroduction

Jim Cox, Sam Rohrer’s former Chief of Staff, a contributing writer of the SPTEA, and now a second term State Representative from the 129th Legislative District has pledged to reintroduce the SPTEA shortly after he takes office in January. Jim, like Sam, is a strong supporter of school property tax elimination and will wage the battle with the same vigor as Sam. We are excited to have Jim continue Sam’s work for the benefit of Pennsylvania’s homeowners.

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Hold Their Feet To The Fire!

By now I’m sure that you’ve all seen your Act 1 property tax relief from gambling money for 2010. In many instances the “relief” was less than in 2009, and you shouldn’t hold out hope to see this improve in the future. Act 1 was a fraud perpetrated on Pennsylvania homeowners to curry favor with the gambling interests and we will continue to see such bogus schemes until we join together to hold lawmakers’ feet to the fire and throw out any incumbents who refuse to support total property tax elimination.

In that regard, the PCTA has had a great deal of success during the past few months in recruiting House and Senate candidates from both parties to the cause. The PCTA will be identifying these candidates in a voter’s guide that will be issued shortly before the November election.

In the meantime, it is imperative that you contact your Representative before the election to let him or her know that you will settle for nothing less than their total support for the School Property Tax Elimination Act and that you will vote against them if they have an opponent in November and do not comply with your demands. For those Representatives who prefer to play politics and respond with valueless excuses, please remember that there are NO excuses – the SPTEA has been vetted and absolutely works as written. Stand firm if they refuse to support the SPTEA! You can find your legislator's contact information by Zip+4 here.

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The New Governor’s Support?

Over the summer two PCTA group leaders and I had ninety minute private meetings with each of the two major gubernatorial candidates, Tom Corbett and Dan Onorato, to discuss the SPTEA and to ask for their support. We explained the urgency of the property tax problem, the provisions and mechanism of the SPTEA, the economic benefits of the plan and the political advantages of their support for this legislation. Both candidates for Governor asked pertinent questions and indicated interest in the SPTEA.

Unfortunately, neither candidate has yet publicly committed to championing the SPTEA. The closest either candidate has come to endorsing the plan was a statement by Dan Onorato at a few public meetings where he said that he supports school property tax elimination and that “there is a bill in the Legislature to accomplish this.” Mr. Onorato did not cross the line to specifically mention the SPTEA but we’re hopeful that he or Mr. Corbett may do so during their campaigns.

It would be a huge help if all of you would take the time to contact the gubernatorial candidates’ campaigns to express your wishes regarding their support of the SPTEA. The PTCC Updates have a very large circulation and if everyone who reads this takes a few minutes to participate we can flood the candidates’ inboxes and really get their attention! Because we need strong support from the new Governor I cannot overemphasize the importance this request, so please send a message to both candidates if you are able. The contact links below will open in a new window.

The Tom Corbett for Governor campaign contact page is here.

The Dan Onorato for Governor campaign contact page is here.

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Critical Issue

On August 30, the day before the due date for school property taxes, I spoke with several tax collectors about this year’s revenue; all told me that collections for the year are running well behind last year. This could be due to many factors but the most likely are downward reassessments, particularly for businesses, increased property taxes in many districts, and the inability of taxpayers to accrue sufficient funds to pay their taxes during the rebate period. The tax collectors also told me about the unusually large number of people who complained to them that they have had to take out reverse mortgages to pay their taxes, a disgraceful situation.

The property tax crisis is quickly worsening and will soon be beyond the ability to correct the problem with the SPTEA or any other true elimination plan.

Broadening the base of the sales tax, the main funding mechanism in the School Property Tax Elimination Act, is currently sufficient to replace all homestead/farmstead school property taxes in Pennsylvania. But without cost controls to limit annual property tax increases it will take only two to three more years of rising taxes to outstrip the ability of the SPTEA to fully replace those taxes.

The situation is critical and must be corrected NOW! This is why I requested above that you get tough with the November candidates for State House, Senate, and Governor, and demand that they support the SPTEA or vote them out of office. We have no more time to waste on special interests, petty politics and lame excuses. Please help!

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Final Notes

The momentum is building! The PCTA will likely gain four more taxpayer advocacy groups for the statewide coalition over the next few weeks as the property tax situation worsens. Adams, Cumberland, and Perry Counties are all suffering through botched reassessments this year and folks from many other areas are extremely disturbed by school property tax increases. These good people are becoming activists and are working do what is necessary to end the property tax crisis. I’ll pass along information on these groups when they’ve officially become PCTA members. If you’d like to start a group in your area, please write to me. The PCTA member groups will be pleased to help you get things rolling.


I’ll be presenting the SPTEA at three town meetings in September and all of you are invited to attend to learn more about the plan and to show your support. Hope to see you there!

- Thursday Sep. 16, 7:00 PM, Bernville Fire Company, Bernville (Berks County), sponsored by the Community School Watch of Tulpehocken

- Wednesday Sep. 22, 7:00 PM, Christiana Firehouse, Christiana (Lancaster County), Sponsored by CLASTA

- Wednesday Sep. 29, 6:30 PM, Quakertown Community Library, Quakertown (Bucks County), sponsored by the Upper Bucks Taxpayers Action Group

That’s all for today. As usual, thank you very much for your perseverance and ongoing support. Your help is sincerely and gratefully appreciated.

David Baldinger
PTCC Administrator