Pa. demographics demand property tax elimination

ROBERT KISTLER

Palmerton

Voters’ approval of the 100 percent homestead exclusion referendum sent a clear mandate to eliminate property taxes.

The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office recently released a number of reports to help understand the impact of legislation that would exclude homestead owners from their school district property taxes.

One of these reports (SR2017-07) quantified our aging population.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that, “Pennsylvania’s senior citizen population is growing 20 times faster than the state’s overall population,” and “by 2025, one in five Pennsylvanians will be aged 65 and older.”

With dwindling taxable income, there is a real possibility that Pennsylvania may tax retirement income.

It is infuriating that many in our General Assembly have allowed this situation to fester. Instead of understanding the root cause behind what is driving Pennsylvania’s population trends, they turn a blind eye.

Pennsylvania ranks in the top 10 for out-migration.

Why?

Gallup cites high tax burden. SB76 townhall feedback confirmed property taxes that often rival or exceed the mortgage payment as the overwhelmingly reason folks are leaving.

Pennsylvania also has a brain drain issue. We have very well respected higher education institutions, but we lack opportunity. We educate, they leave. Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom of many business friendly studies. Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office’s analysis of SB76: It would clearly increase the attractiveness of the Commonwealth for business location and expansion.

Unrestrained property taxes are a leading driver of the state’s devastating economic trends. Harrisburg needs to fix the problem, not the symptons.

SB76 is a more robust solution than Homestead Exclusion.

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