Before you start celebrating and scheduling a "block" party to throw away your current property tax bills, you need to read this important commentary. I stumbled upon some information about a piece of legislation being proposed by Republican state Rep. Frank Ryan of Lebanon County. He is retired from the military after 41 years and lists himself as a CPA. His House Bill 13 that is going to be submitted before the House of Representatives in Harrisburg, purports to eliminate school property taxes in the Commonwealth. If you have been fortunate enough to have earned a pension by working long and hard from a former employer, you will not like the proposal Representative Ryan is presenting this year.
Most if not all tax proposals from state and local governments are fashioned on the principle of a "regressive tax" structure based on everyone paying the same amount no matter what your income is. People who make less money working actually are hurt more by such a tax structure. One of Frank Ryan’s ideas he is proposing is the addition of 2% to the 6% sales tax we already pay in Pennsylvania upon numerous items. The difference here is that this additional tax would go to the local school district as part of his plan to eliminate school property taxes.
With 21.2% of Fayette County residents over the age of 65, this would mean they would pay more for certain essential items they rely on every day. Most, if not all of this number rely on their Social Security. Why are we going to punish our senior citizens, under the guise of reducing their school property taxes with this proposed 2% sales tax increase? Especially when they rely on this monthly check as their only source of income? COLA’s from the federal government are slim and none and generally offset by increases in Medicare Part B every year.
You think this is a bad idea, wait until you hear the rest of this so-called tax relief bill that state Rep. Ryan is proposing. If you have a pension you saved and earned from your employment, you are going to get taxed on it if this proposal passes the state legislature. Here is the rest of the story regarding this property tax relief hoax that is being perpetrated on the citizens all across Pennsylvania as follows. 1.85% of your current pension would be taxed and go directly to the local school district where you live to help fund their budget.
Then the state would also tax you another 3.07% for a total of 4.92% of the pension funds you would lose that you already have paid State Income and Federal Income Taxes on when you worked. They would put this money into a ‘fund’ to appropriate for school districts across the state. Do you see any issue with this concept? Let a group of politicians have access to millions of dollars of taxpayer money and they will do with it as they please at their whim? Look at what the federal government has done with our Social Security benefits they call an "entitlement."
Why are our Senior Citizens being burdened with the cost of funding public schools? Anyone over 65 should not be paying school property taxes. I have two grown children that both work locally and one owns a home and pays taxes to the school district, county and city where he lives. The other pays wage taxes to the school district and the municipality where she resides. I paid my school taxes faithfully from the time they were born until they became adults. Why am I forced to continue paying school taxes from my pension I worked for and earned for almost 35 years?
Enough is enough and I’ve had about all I can take from these so-called experts in Harrisburg, who want more money from what I must live on for the remainder of my life.
Any tax that is set up as "regressive" at a flat rate is a BAD tax. If you want a system then make it "progressive" and based on your income. Those people who work would pay a progressive wage tax percentage based on their income to the school district directly if they have children in school. If you own property and have a more expensive home, then you are making more money to afford it. Thus, you can afford to pay more for your child to attend school. Then your progressive wage tax rate would be higher and go directly to the school district where you currently reside in lieu of a property tax bill on the property you reside in.