By Senator David G. Argall (R-29)
Senator Mike Folmer (R-48)
Senator Judy Schwank (D-11)
Senator John Yudichak (D-14)
Despite renewed special interest attacks at the capitol in Harrisburg, the
fight for eliminating the unfair school property tax begun by 79 grassroots
taxpayer groups across the state is making some real progress.
Across the 11 counties we represent, the number one question we hear at our
town hall meetings is: When will the legislature eliminate school property
Last year, we introduced a similar proposal
&body=s&type=b&bn=1400[EL] drafted by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer
Associations. The Senate Finance Committee held a public hearing on this
proposal and we asked for a nonpartisan analysis of the bill to provide
detailed funding projections. The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) identified
several problems in the original proposal. Special interest groups have used
the report as a weapon against our efforts but we view it as a roadmap to
achieve true property tax reform and we have moved quickly to amend the
Last year’s proposal garnered 13 co-sponsors, or 26 percent of the total
state Senate. This year’s proposal, Senate Bill 76
&body=S&type=B&BN=0076[EL] , corrects the defects in the original bill, as
detailed in the 80-page analysis provided by the IFO
nal%20-%20Public%20Release.pdf[EL]. Even more importantly, as a result of the
grassroots efforts of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations
this year, 22 Senators have now co-sponsored the bill – 12 Republicans and
10 Democrats – an increase of 9 Senators from last year. We continue to
forge new coalitions and pick up support from all corners of the state.
Groups like the Western Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayers, the
Wilkes-Barre City Taxpayers Association, and the South Eastern Tax Reform
Coalition are leading the charge to eliminate this tax.
The Senate and House Finance Committees have asked the IFO to complete an
updated analysis of Senate Bill 76 in the next few months. The issue of
funding public schools is a $13 billion problem and we welcome their
nonpartisan, professional analysis to ensure we provide a dollar-for-dollar
match for basic education.
In the last few months, because of growing grassroots efforts across the
state, support for the bill has grown from 13 to 22 State Senators. The
number we need to achieve in the Senate is 26 votes for passage, and then it
heads over to the House of Representatives, where we need 102 votes.
Representatives Jim Cox and Mark Gillen have discussed this proposal with
the Governor, and he is on the record with them stating he would sign the
bill when it reaches his desk.
We look forward to continuing our bipartisan fight to advance this issue.
In our local newspapers, we frequently read about the thousands of sheriff’s
sales that occur each year across the state. We hear this fundamental
principle every day, from Marietta all the way to West Pittston: No tax
should have the power to leave you homeless.
Contact: Jon Hopcraft
717.787.2637 | 570.773.0891
Executive Director, Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee
Legislative & Communications Director
Office of State Senator David G. Argall (R-29)
Senate Box 203029
Harrisburg, PA 17120
570.773.0891 (Mahanoy City)