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06/15/2024 01:26 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20230&cosponId=42194
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 28, 2024 10:25 AM
From: Representative Christina D. Sappey and Rep. Chris Pielli, Rep. Craig Williams
To: All House members
Subject: Property Taxes for Multi-County School Districts
 
Section 672.1 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code creates a taxation system that is unfair to property taxpayers. This archaic and complex system – that is virtually unexplainable to citizens – leads to wide and disparate millage swings that can result in tax increases that are in the double digits, well beyond limits set forth by the Act 1 index.
 
The purpose of Section 672.1 is to provide uniform and fair taxation for taxpayers in multi-county school districts. However, because this law has been largely untouched since its inception in 1949, it is not consistent with other laws – most importantly Act 1 – and, as such, fails to meet its intended purpose.
 
Act 1 is a property tax relief bill passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in 2006, which set a cap on the amount a school district can raise property taxes. The cap is calculated with an eye toward allowing school districts to cover normal inflationary cost increases. If a school district wishes to raise taxes above that cap, the increase must be voted on in a district-wide referendum. Because Section 672.1 predates Act 1, there exists an unintentional consequence that often leads to significant tax increases above the Act 1 index. This is something that neither Section 672.1 nor Act 1 intended to take place.
 
Legislation we plan to introduce is simple and comes with no impact to the Commonwealth's budget. By amending Section 672.1 to allow multi-county school districts to apply the Act 1 index equally and fairly to both counties (just as single county systems apply to taxpayers in their one county), this would result in:
 
  • A system that is fair and equitable;
  • A system that taxpayers could understand;
  • A process that is fair to all taxpayers, with everyone being treated equally;
  • No additional cost to the Commonwealth; and
  • Local control for school districts. 
We hope you’ll join us in addressing this challenge for 88 school districts in the Commonwealth by becoming a co-sponsor.