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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 23, 2017 10:11 AM
From: Representative Anthony M. DeLuca
To: All House members
Subject: Amending the Tax Payer Relief Act of 2006/1 for School District Exceptions

In the near future I will be introducing legislation amending the Tax Payer Relief Act of the Special Session in 2006, related to the exceptions under which school districts may request to increase property taxes above the index set forth through this statute. The exceptions set forth in Act 1 are valid, legitimate exceptions for costs that some districts simply cannot control. My legislation does not remove any exceptions but simply puts a limit of two consecutive years a district may seek an exception under the School Construction category.

Each year school districts are required to adopt a preliminary budget which includes a schedule of tax rate increases and submit that plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for review. If the school district’s proposed tax rate increase exceeds the school district’s index as published by PDE, the District under Act 1 of 2006/1 must either reduce their proposed tax increase, put the increase before the voters in a referendum, or seek an exception from the referendum from PDE.

Most school districts keep their tax increases below the allowable index. However, many school districts request an exception that when granted, allows them to increase their tax rates above the index allowed for their district. These exceptions, while necessary and justifiable in most cases, have become simply an almost-automatic, annual budgeting tool for others.

Districts need to revisit their practices of requesting an exception every year to raise taxes year upon year upon year. Tax payers are being priced out of their homes by annual tax increases because they are not being given the opportunity to vote by referendum on these increases. These districts are granted exceptions and therefore do not have to put the question before the voters in that district. The intent of Act 1 is being circumvented by this repeated use of what was intended to be a legitimate need for an exception.

My legislation simply requires districts to tighten their budgeting practices by not allowing them to continue to obtain an exception to the referendum requirement for school construction year and after without voter input. The taxpayers and voters need more of a voice in theses annual tax increases and this legislation is a start in addressing that need.

I invite you to join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1462