As state senators in Pennsylvania consider how to address soaring school property taxes, some say serious attempts at reform are a long way off.
Many lawmakers have expressed interest in bringing down school property taxes by replacing the levies with other revenue streams.But consensus over this is lacking — and not just because shifting a tax burden is always going to be controversial.
School property tax is intertwined with other thorny issues like proposed reforms to reduce the state’s public pension debt, which lawmakers and the governor tried and failed to advance earlier this year.
Democratic state Senator Anthony Williams, of Philadelphia, says another touchy subject bound up in how school districts generate revenue is the funding formula used – or in recent years, ignored — by state lawmakers to allocate state money to school districts.
“We can go through a list of probably the top four, and all this stuff is going to revolve around this,” said Williams.
And there’s still much debate over how to ease property tax increases for Pennsylvanians. A plan before the state Senate to eliminate property taxes was recently rejected by the state House.