State Rep. Bud Cook represents portions of Fayette and Washington County in Harrisburg. Recently, an article appeared in the Observer-Reporter reporting he has a concern as to how funds from casino revenue are being used.
When the monies are paid to the state and a portion given to Washington County, for instance, the money can be used for various municipal projects, recreation, roads, bridges, and other community upgrades. None of the funds seem to go for school projects. Cook feels it is time to change the law and have Casino-paid funds go to school districts to help reduce or remove the need for the school property tax. While it may sound like “music to the ears” of every property owner, we must look at whether such money always will be sufficient to replace the current property tax.
Over a number of years, many plans were put on the table to replace the school tax, but each failed to prove other fees or taxes paid in our state would be sufficient. Increasing the 1% tax on earnings or net profits fails to promise sufficient revenues from the working taxpayer to fully support the needs of the school district. People retire, die, become unemployed or move from the state. Increasing the state’s income tax could fail for the same reasons. But one tax that would be the most sufficient for annual revenues would be the use of the state’s current sales tax. Watching all the new developments in Pennsylvania (housing and commercial/industrial businesses), the sales tax revenues would be from a variety of taxpayers and other sources.
It is confusing why the majority of other legislators and Cook will not call an end to the school property tax. Because of the fact, enforcing the school property tax, currently based on questionable home assessments and incomes from home owners who have no need for their school’s service, distorts the full meaning of using this tax. Voters and taxpayers have no control over a reform. It all depends on representatives and senators who we vote for to work in Harrisburg and make changes when a tax law shows to be outdated and broken.
Joann Koziel Diesel