Opposition forming to Pa. plan for scrapping school property taxes

    Pennsylvania’s Senate could vote this spring on a proposal to eliminate school property taxes.

    The sponsor of a Senate plan to replace school property taxes with higher sales and personal income levies says it has bipartisan backing — and enough co-sponsors to pass a vote.

    But opponents of the measure are mobilizing.

    Sam Denisco, vice president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, is one of them.

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    “We’re getting wind that this is getting legs,” he said. “There’s a strong lobby that supports the bill. They’re running around the Capitol.”

    The head of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Sharon Ward, said the measure would do more harm than good in the eyes of businesses, schools, and advocates for the poor.

    “We know that proponents of the legislation are very serious about seeing it enacted as is the senate sponsor and we wanted to make sure that there was an understanding about the depth of opposition to the bill,” she said.

    In the fall, the House voted down the same plan, instead passing a more localized approach to let school districts choose to keep property taxes, reduce them, or replace them with another levy.

    The most ardent Senate supporter of the property tax elimination plan says his chamber won’t vote for the House’s local-option approach.

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