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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 14, 2020 02:01 PM
From: Senator John DiSanto
To: All Senate members
Subject: Constitutional Amendment to Eliminate School Property Taxes
I will soon introduce a constitutional amendment to end the imposition of school district property taxes and compel this General Assembly to enact a more equitable alternative to fund public education. The people of Pennsylvania have spoken forcefully at town hall meetings as well as in the voting booth about the need to eliminate this archaic and unfair tax.

For decades, relief measures such as school property tax referendums and casino gaming have fallen short of expectations and have done little to ease the burden of Pennsylvania homeowners—especially our seniors living on fixed-incomes.

As recently as 2017, Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment expanding the homestead exclusion to 100 percent of a home’s assessed value, yet three more years have passed with no meaningful property tax reforms.

I continue to advocate for and support the bipartisan Property Tax Independence Act, introduced as Senate Bill 76, but it has been nearly five years since this measure was last considered on the floor of the Senate, when it was defeated by just one vote. This issue deserves new consideration.

Constituents in my district and across the entire Commonwealth are suffering greatly under the weight of constantly increasing school property taxes. The status-quo is unacceptable, and voter approval of this constitutional amendment would force the General Assembly to address this issue once and for all. Powerful and entrenched special interests opposing reform would no longer be able to block needed action.

This amendment would also guarantee that our local school districts receive the same amount of revenue as they did from the property tax, so education funding would be more equitable for taxpayers while ensuring school needs are met.

No tax should have the power to leave you homeless and only total elimination will ensure Pennsylvanians are secure in their homes. I have no doubt that the economic fallout from Covid-19 mitigation will exacerbate tax sales in coming years if nothing is done to alleviate the school property tax burden.

Please join me in cosponsoring this essential legislation that will allow the people of Pennsylvania directly to decide the future of school property tax elimination.

Introduced as SB1335