Letter to the Editor: More Hearings Needed on Property Tax Legislation
State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-153, explains why she voted to table House Bill 1776.
Last week, the House Finance Committee, of which I am a member, voted to table House Bill 1776, which would partially eliminate school property taxes (school property taxes will remain for debt service and this bill will not eliminate township, fire, or county property taxes).
[See the bill in the pdf section]
After multiple hearings on this bill and over 13 hours of debate in committee – including over two hours last week at a meeting intended to vote on the proposal – the committee voted 13-11 to table this bill.
Let me explain why I voted to table:
Two of my top priorities since taking office last month after a special election have been to ensure that our schools have the proper support from the state and that seniors are not being taxed out of their homes.
School property taxes raise $12.5 billion in revenue annually; according to the Department of Revenue’s analysis, H.B. 1776 would raise $9.1 billion – a $3.4 billion, or over 25 percent shortfall.
Finance Committee Chairmen Benninghoff and Mundy recognize this deficiency, with Rep. Benninghoff stating that the bill "has some significant revenue shortfalls that make it irresponsible to vote on at this time." I am not willing to cut our school funding more than 25 percent while schools are still dealing with almost $1 billion in school cuts last year, with more cuts coming this year.
I urge Finance Committee Chairmen Benninghoff and Mundy to schedule more hearings on this bill to see if there is a way to actually achieve revenue neutrality while providing much needed property tax relief to Pennsylvania taxpayers.
153rd Legislative District