Pa. tax shift plans inspire early opposition

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    Pennsylvania’s major doctors lobby is already gearing up to oppose plans to reduce or eliminate property taxes.

    Plans to curb or kill the property taxes levied by school districts didn’t get very far last legislative session. Lawmakers are in the process of reintroducing those proposals.

    But the Pennsylvania Medical Society said both proposals would stick medical doctors and their patients with a higher bill.

    “We have great concern over both the House and Senate initiatives from last session,” said PAMED’s legislative counsel Scot Chadwick. “And we’re going to be opposing anything this session like that — that would provide for a tax on health care services.”

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    Sen. Dave Argall, R-Schuylkill, has proposed eliminating school district property taxes and replacing them with higher taxes on income and sales. He said he hasn’t heard from health care groups, and was under the impression that his proposal exempted health care services from an increased sales tax.

    Proponents of bills to reduce or eliminate property taxes say they expect opposition, because the nature of the proposals is to create new winners and losers.

    “It’s a shift,” said Argall. “But it’s the No. 1 issue my constituents are asking me to work on.”

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