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HB218 and property taxes

LEANN KARSCHNER

Hughesville

I attended state Rep. Garth Everett’s recent Town Hall meeting. There were people in attendance who were concerned about property taxes. I said the Pennsylvania Republican Budget (HB218) would result in an increase in property taxes.

Mr. Everett thought I may have confused the federal budget with the state budget. I want to share a portion of a news release issued by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania: “Line items to be eliminated include juvenile probation services ($18.9 million); adult probation services ($16.2 million); intermediate punishment treatment programs ($18.2 million); county trial reimbursement ($200,000); senior judge reimbursement ($1.4 million); and court interpreter county grants ($1.5 million).

Line items to be decreased include county court reimbursement (reduced by $3.5 million); jurors cost reimbursement (reduced by $168,000); mental health services (reduced by $5 million from the Governor’s proposal for total cut of $19.6 million); behavioral health services (reduced by $4 million); Human Services Development Fund (reduced by $2 million); and homeless assistance (reduced by $2.8 million).

Counties ultimately are responsible for delivering all of these services, and counties recognize both a statutory and a moral commitment to do so to the best of their capacity. The commonwealth must do the same. Plainly and emphatically, the lack of adequate funding from the commonwealth will mean local tax increases to maintain services. This is clearly not a no-tax-increase budget. Any vote for this budget is a vote for property tax increases.

Mr. Everett is correct in saying the GOP’s proposed federal budget will increase property taxes.

PA HB218, the proposed budget submitted by Pennsylvania Republicans, will do the same.

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