PENNSYLVANIA TAXPAYERS CYBER COALITION

Dedicated To Equitable Tax Funding Of Pennsylvania Schools

Latest News

NEW! What is your potential school property tax increase for 2017? The Act 1 index for your district is here.

August 18, 2016 Update. Betrayal, citizen warriors, growth of the effort, and good news. The latest PTCC Update is here.

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

Why Governor Wolf's property tax "relief" plan is a fraud. From CF: Wolf's Unfair Tax Shift. 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.

The brutality of tax eviction! A deputy sheriff speaks out. Click here.







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The Real Faces of the Issue. Click here.

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Features

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!

The Property Tax Independence Act Petitions
Sign an individual petition to demonstrate your approval of the The Property Tax Independence Act or distribute a multi-signature petition to really gather support! Print extra copies for your friends, family, and neighbors so they can help, too! Download the petitions as PDF files here.

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

 

PTCC Archive

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PTCC UPDATE

15 September 2015

Friends,

I hope all of you had an enjoyable summer. Now that September has arrived and the General Assembly is returning to session, it’s time to give you an update on exactly where we stand in the fight to eliminate the school property tax. Besides the status there will be some suggestions on how you can help. But first, some proof of how our momentum is building.

While the summer may have been quiet in the Capitol, it was anything but quiet for the tens of thousands of Property Tax Independence Act supporters from across Pennsylvania. These dedicated activists have been very busy canvassing neighborhoods statewide with the HB/SB 76 story, conducting town hall meetings, and organizing tents and booths at county fairs, block parties, and community events. We’re grateful for their dedication and hard work that will go far towards making property tax independence a reality. Click on the thumbnails below to see the full size photo.

 

 

 

 

 


Property Tax Independence Act Billboards

Besides the efforts described above, PTCC members demonstrated another huge display of activism and grassroots support for the Property Tax Independence Act. In less than two weeks in August the members of the PTCC Facebook page and other concerned taxpayers contributed more than ten thousand dollars in a campaign to purchase two massive Property Tax Independence Act billboards near Harrisburg. These billboards have been erected along northbound and southbound I-83 near the Capitol exit where virtually every lawmaker entering Harrisburg will see them and will remain there until late October. A grassroots initiative such as this is remarkable and again demonstrates that we have the enthusiasm and momentum we need to win this fight. A photo of one of the billboards is at the left. The Fox43 video news story about the billboards is here.

A huge “thank you” to all who so generously contributed!

 

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Current Property Tax Legislation

Besides our legislation, House Bill 76 and Senate Bill 76, the Property Tax Independence Act, there are two other proposals being considered.

- The first is House Bill 504. This property tax reduction legislation passed the House of Representatives in mid-May and is currently in the Senate Finance Committee awaiting action. This legislation increases the income tax to 3.70% and increases the sales tax to 7% on the current base. Sponsors of the bill claim that this will reduce property taxes by an average 40% to 70%, but because the legislation partially uses the flawed homestead exclusion as its distribution model, gross inequities between relief amounts in each district are guaranteed. Although the bill’s sponsors say that there are cost controls built into the legislation to prevent property taxes from returning to their previous levels, the controls are far from totally effective and will allow property taxes to continue to rise in the future, eventually negating much, if not all, of the proposed relief. For these reasons we oppose this legislation. Note that it could be used in the Senate as a vehicle to advance SB 76 in that chamber by deleting the original language and replacing it with the SB 76 language.

- The second property tax relief scheme is the one proposed by Governor Tom Wolf as a part of his budget that he claims will reduce property taxes by 50% statewide. This is another fraudulent proposal that falls far short of its promises.

The plan increases the state income tax from the current 3.07% to 3.70% and increases the sales tax to 6.6% on an expanded sales tax base of products and services. These increases are estimated to generate about $2.8 billion in revenue but total residential property taxes total just over $10 billion. In what way is that 50%?

But worse, the distribution of “relief” is as unfair as possible and in no way approaches 50% for the vast majority of homeowners. Example: According to a spreadsheet published on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website, homeowners in the Mars School District in Butler County will receive a 15.2% property tax decrease while the residents of the West Greene School District in Green County will receive 306.89% (no, this is not a typo). This distribution model is tremendously inequitable and proves that the Wolf plan is nothing more than a massive redistribution of wealth from middle class school districts to the cities. Analysts have estimated that residents in 405 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts will pay MORE in total taxes under the Wolf plan.

Although the Wolf plan claims to have measures in place to control future property tax increases these proposed controls are meaningless. Under the Wolf plan property taxes will continue to increase at their current pace until all of the relief has been wiped out by those increases.

The Wolf plan is valueless grandstanding and political payback that has the potential to cause great harm to Pennsylvania homeowners and MUST be rejected.

- The third is House Bill 76 and Senate Bill 76, the Property Tax Independence Act, our grassroots legislation. SB 76, the Senate Version, is currently in the Senate Finance Committee with twenty-four co-sponsors, almost half of the Senate. HB 76, the House version, is written but has not yet been formally introduced to prevent opponents from bringing it to a vote prematurely in an attempt to kill the legislation.

For the moment our best chance of passage is in the Senate where the prime sponsors are confident that we have the votes necessary to pass SB 76 in both the Finance and Appropriations committees and on the Senate floor. If this occurs the media attention would put tremendous pressure on the House to pass it as well. The most important factor affecting when the legislation will be considered is timing, and that comes down to…

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The Budget

As I’m sure you know, a new state budget has not been approved and while negotiations between and General Assembly and the Governor have been ongoing little progress has been made. There are many differing ideas about what should be in the budget and I will not offer an opinion on this. I will, however, tell you how the budget negotiations can affect the chances for passage of HB/SB 76.

First, Governor Wolf has made his bogus property tax “relief” plan one of the key points of his “holistic” budget. The very last thing we want is to have property taxes added to the already sloppy mix of budget priorities where it can be sliced, diced, and negotiated until we get what we always get – a worthless compromise that accomplishes nothing. The property tax problem is far too urgent and critical to subject it to the meat grinder of Harrisburg budget politics, special interest influence, and political whims. It MUST be considered separately from the budget negotiations if we are to have any chance of enacting the Property Tax Independence Act as it is written.

Second, the Governor is insisting on increases in both the sales tax and income tax as part of his budget proposal, even though only a very small portion of those increases would be used to address property taxes while the remainder would go towards increased general fund spending. Any increase in the sales or income tax to be spent in the general fund would kill HB/SB 76’s funding sources and doom the legislation. Those tax increases CANNOT be part of the budget.

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Where We Stand

Fortunately, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, a key player in the budget fight, has made it clear that he does not want to consider property taxes as part of the budget. From the July 13 PA Independent: “In floor remarks made before the June 30 budget deadline, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said his caucus is the only one pushing for the total elimination of property taxes, but that such reforms should be considered outside of a general fund appropriations bill.” Senator Corman has also stated that sales and income tax increases are off the table and absolutely will not be a part of budget negotiations.

On the House side of the Capitol, House Majority Leader Dave Reed, another important figure in the budget negotiations, has made it clear that his priority is total elimination of the school property tax. As reported in the August 19 Indiana Gazette: “Rep. Dave Reed, of the 62nd District, said he favors raising the income tax and sales tax and doing away with the real estate tax. “It’s predictable and based on the ability to pay. People get to keep their homes, not rent them from school districts,” Reed said.”

As you can see, we have key support for the Property Tax Independence Act in both legislative chambers. We have asked the House and Senate leadership to delay any action on HB/SB 76 until after the budget has been settled and they have indicated their willingness to cooperate. We are extremely grateful to them for their willingness to work with us to achieve property tax independence.

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How You Can Help

There are a few simple, important steps you can take that will involve little of your time but can make a huge difference in the enactment of the Property Tax Independence Act. PLEASE take a few moments to help.

First, contact Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman to thank him for his commitment to SB 76 and to encourage him to stand firm on not allowing sales tax or income tax increases to become part of the budget. His Web contact form is here or you can call his Harrisburg office at (717) 787-1377. Do both if you wish!

Second, contact House Majority Leader Dave Reed to thank him for supporting HB 76 and to request that he not allow property taxes to become part of the budget debate. His Web contact form is at the bottom of this page or you can call his Harrisburg office at (717) 705-7173.

These lawmakers are in our corner and your encouragement can help to keep them there as negotiations get tougher. Please take a few minutes to help!

Third, contact your Senator and Representative to ask him or her to support House Bill 76 and Senate Bill 76, to not allow sales and income tax increases to become part of the budget, and to reject any property tax solution that is part of the budget process. Accept NO excuses! You can find contact information for your Representative and Senator here.

Finally, please forward the address of this page to every homeowner on your Pennsylvania email address list. Grassroots movements such as ours depend on supporters bringing others to the effort, so please do whatever you can to help to spread the word.

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Housekeeping

I’ll close with a few housekeeping items. If you’re a Facebook subscriber, please join the more than 5,500 members of the PTCC Facebook community to keep abreast of the latest news and commentary by clicking on the link or by searching Facebook for “PTCC.” You can also follow the PTCC on Twitter: @pataxpayers. And if you change your email address please send me an email at pataxpayers@gmail.com with your new address so you’ll receive all the future PTCC Updates.

That’s all for today. Thank you, everyone, for your continued support of property tax independence and be sure to contact your legislators about the items mentioned in this update. We, the grassroots, WILL be heard!

David Baldinger
PTCC Administrator



 

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