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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: April 12, 2013 03:41 PM
From: Senator Patricia H. Vance
To: All Senate members
Subject: Memo # 17 - Local Tax Collector Reform
In the near future, I look to introduce two measures that will amend the Local Tax Collection Law.

Document #1

Introduced as SB985

The first measure will assist our local governments by providing them an option to adopt a resolution to abolish the office of Tax Collector. In many boroughs and townships it is difficult to identify viable candidates for Tax Collector. Oftentimes, one of three things will occur: 1) only one candidate will circulate a nominating petition to gather the minimum 10 signatures; 2) no one circulates a nominating petition; 3) a person on a whim writes their name on the ballot or runs a last-minute write-in campaign, which results in but a handful of votes to win the office. In these instances, the individual frequently lacks the desired background to ably serve in this position of trust. Also, vacancies are common and difficult to fill. Municipalities reach agreements for the taxes to be collected by an adjoining municipality or the County Treasurer. This bill will allow our boroughs and townships, those who best know their communities, the option to abolish the local Tax Collector position and make a decision with whom to place this trust, whether it is the County Treasurer or a Tax Collector from a neighboring municipality.

Document #2

Introduced as SB986

The second measure looks to improve on our current educational requirements and qualifications for holding the office of Tax Collector. Under current law, there is no mandatory curriculum or education requirement. Rather, one may choose to take a basic and continuing education program. Upon successful completion of this program, one receives the title of “Qualified Tax Collector”. To better ensure a Tax Collector receives the proper educational foundation as well as meets enhanced criteria in their professional background, my proposal would require 1) successful completion of an educational program, similar in concept to that required of Magisterial District Judges, and 2) passage of a background check such as required for any Tax Officer under Act 32 (Earned Income Tax Collection). As in Act 32, a person could not be sworn into office as Tax Collector if there was a felony conviction involving fraud, extortion or dishonesty. This criteria must be met prior to being sworn into office as Tax Collector. I believe these measures are needed to further protect the taxpayers and municipalities that depend on this office to honestly and accurately collect and disperse public monies.