Pa. Senate ed committee moves bill to make raising property taxes harder

     Pa. Capitol Building, Harrisburg. (Kevin McCorry/WHYY)

    Pa. Capitol Building, Harrisburg. (Kevin McCorry/WHYY)

    School property taxes are a perennial issue in Harrisburg. And while attempts to curtail or get rid of them entirely routinely fizzle out, a bill making modest changes is moving through the Senate.

    The bill, supported by Montgomery County Republican John Rafferty, would make it harder for school boards to raise property taxes.

    It would require a supermajority—or two-thirds vote—in order to pass anything. The current law only requires a simple majority.

    Senate Education Chair John Eichelberger said that’ll ensure any tax hike is backed by “compelling need.”

    The School Boards Association wasn’t as enthusiastic.

    While the organization didn’t condemn the bill, it said in a letter that it would only support it if the general assembly extended that same super majority requirement to its own tax votes.

    Among other bills the committee passed this week was one that would crack down on school employees heavily involved in their unions, by banning teachers from staying on their school’s payroll if they’re working for the union full-time.

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