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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 20, 2017 11:25 AM
From: Representative Jason Ortitay
To: All House members
Subject: Property Tax Freedom Act
In the near future, I will be introducing a package of bills known as the Property Tax Freedom Act, which will allow each individual school district to determine how its schools are funded. Currently, our 500 school districts rely heavily on funding from property taxes. Solving the property tax issue has been a priority for many years. A recent report from the Tax Foundation graded Pennsylvania as having the sixth highest property taxes in the country. This package of bills will contain the following provisions:
  1. School boards will be able to enact the following taxes – EIT, occupation, per capita, LST, BPT, real estate transfer, public utility realty, amusement and mercantile. Any new tax enacted or revenue raised must reduce property taxes dollar for dollar permanently.
  2. School boards will determine how best to fund their schools with the above mentioned menu of taxes.
  3. Earned Income Tax (EIT) can be raised to a maximum of 3 percent.
  4. School boards only can raise taxes to the approved limit each year (present day current law). If they wish to raise additional taxes for their budget, then there must be a voter referendum, and it must be approved. There will be no exceptions.
  5. Primary residences no longer can be held as a lien for property taxes, which means people cannot can lose their home due to not paying property taxes. However, other tax liens and collection methods may be used, such as garnishing wages, government benefits, etc.
  6. In order to promote change and move away from being dependent on property taxes, school boards must reduce property taxes by a minimum of 10 percent in the first year.
In summary, this legislation will allow school districts to determine how they fund their schools at the local level; maintain local control; make it illegal for the state to take your house if you don’t pay property taxes; require a voter referendum if additional funds are requested by the school board; and require every school board to take action within the first year to help lessen the burden of property taxes.

Please join me in sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB1429