Pa. lawmakers again tackle property tax quandary

    A panel of Pennsylvania House lawmakers is setting out to find the best way to enact property tax reform and still adequately fund school districts and county services.

    Rep. Nick Micozzie says lawmakers looking to recycle proposals to reduce the property tax burden by shifting that tax to other areas are just going to spin their wheels.

    “There’s no way that we’re going to get through this General Assembly an increase in personal income tax, sales tax, local tax, whatever, to fund education,” said Micozzie, R-Delaware.

    But the committee chairman, Rep. Tom Quigley, says there’s something new to consider this time around.

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    The state’s Independent Fiscal Office is taking a look at proposals to replace property taxes with higher sales and income taxes.

    The Department of Revenue said such a plan would fall about $3 billion short, but Quigley, R-Montgomery, says he’s waiting to see if the IFO offers suggestions for how such a tax shift might work.

    “So, in other words, if they come up and say it doesn’t fully replace the school property tax, is there anything in their analysis they saw that could give recommendations for us to make it work?” he said.

    Quigley says the committee will focus on property taxes levied by school districts, municipalities, and counties, as well as the unfunded mandates passed on by state agencies that force those groups to need additional revenue.

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