Tax reform long overdue

The subject of Tax Reform in Pennsylvania (Jan. 24 Observer-Reporter{/em}) is a repeat of news the property owners read 47 years ago when our state’s government felt the school property tax needed to be abolished by increasing the tax rate for educational expenses on the wage owner. The idea of such a reform died as fast as a daisy without water.

As a wage tax collector for Chartiers-Houston School District and the township, I had the pleasure of attending a hearing in Moon Township with state legislators who were seeking comments on their idea to drop one tax and increase the rate of another. I presented the true fact that a single taxpayer (a nurse) in a block of 10 homes with elderly and retired owners could not produce enough tax revenue as those 10 homeowners.

Today, with all the renters in any district and not a property owner, the facts may be different, but then comes into play, not needing the service of their local schools, how can they be the victim of higher wage taxes for supporting revenues? The tax laws adopted in Pennsylvania have a purpose – for services received. No one should argue that fact. The argument becomes necessary when “those paying certain taxes do not receive the service benefit of the taxing authority.”

Forty-seven years of waiting for the perfect tax reform has been aggravating.

Many homeowners today were just born in 1973. Many parents living today had hope for tax reform. Many candidates for our legislative government in Harrisburg were elected on the “promise” to work on the school property tax.

Sen. Joe Scarnati has brought the tax reform to the table, but it keeps dying. Proposals to increase the state sales tax or income tax, or local income taxes, have merit. Broadening the sales tax requirement would include revenue by out of state spenders but may have some effect on homes with several family members. Then sales tax on purchases may become objective.

The subject has never been put on the ballot. It is time for a firm proposal to be presented and approved by our legislators and put on a ballot for the voters. It is time to get serious about this outdated school property tax that does not serve homes without children. Looking at all the new townhouse developments, how can the real estate tax law be 100% legal for the aged and childless?

Joann Diesel