School tax bills put on back burner– Legislature uneasy about eliminating property tax

HARRISBURG — The state Legislature can’t bring itself to vote on the thorny issue of eliminating school property taxes, and yet it can’t stop battling over the idea either.

“We have met the enemy and it is us,” state Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, quipped last week at a hearing on Senate Bill 1400.

He’s a co-sponsor of the bill, which is risky to lawmakers because it would cost state school districts at least $9 billion a year, while shifting the job of collecting property taxes from the 500 local districts to state officials. Opponents wonder if the state will send back to local districts the full amount they are owed.

Critics also fear the loss of school tax revenue could be as high as $12 billion — which everyone agrees would be a staggering amount to make up through other levies.

Click here to read the full article by Tom Barnes published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on July 29, 2012.


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