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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 22, 2021 08:50 AM
From: Senator Timothy P. Kearney
To: All Senate members
Subject: State Tax Equalization Board Revisions
In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation to reform the enabling legislation for the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB). 
The death of a STEB board member earlier this year presents to an opportunity to revisit the composition, the appointment process, and the conduct of board’s affairs. 
STEB is currently a three member board. It meets several times a year, usually monthly, and the 3 members hold paid positions with annual salaries:  the  Chairman is paid $26,000 and regular members are paid $24,000, along with benefits and travel. 
We would propose to reform STEB’s statute to replace appointed members with the Secretaries (or designee) of DCED, Education, and Revenue be named as the 3 STEB board members.  These are the three state agencies that are most directly interested in STEB-related issues. 
Under our proposal, the DCED Secretary would become part of the board immediately due to the current vacancy on the board. The other Secretaries would become part of the board upon any additional vacancies or upon the expiration of the term of office (November 14, 2021) of the other two board members. The current subsection on compensation will be repealed at the end of the current members’ terms, although the DCED Secretary will serve on the board without any compensation. The continuation of the current terms until the term expires is based on case law, primarily Kelley v. Clark, 327 Pa. 181 (1937), which found that appointed officers can’t be removed by legislative action unless the office itself is abolished 
These proposed changes would save DCED approximately $100k a year, and make the operations of the Board more efficient. With the pandemic and it’s effect on the state budget,  we need to look at every area of savings. 
By way of additional background, the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) was initially established as an independent state administrative board by the act of June 27, 1947 (P.L. 1046, No. 447), known as the State Tax Equalization Board Law. In 2013, STEB was formally transferred to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) by the act of April 18, 2013 (P.L. 4, No. 2). Act 447 was repealed. STEB is governed by the provisions of Chapter 15 of the Community and Economic Development Enhancement Act, the act of June 27, 1996 (P.L. 403, No. 58); 71 P.S. §§ 1709.1501, et seq. 

Introduced as SB505