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Pennsylvania May Consider Property Tax Repeal or Reform

By: Joseph Bishop-Henchman

Pennsylvania State Rep. Sam Rohrer has introduced a bill calling for a public vote on a package to eliminate the property taxA property tax is primarily levied on immovable property like land and buildings, as well as on tangible personal property that is movable, like vehicles and equipment. Property taxes are the single largest source of state and local revenue in the U.S. and help fund schools, roads, police, and other services. and extend the sales taxA sales tax is levied on retail sales of goods and services and, ideally, should apply to all final consumption with few exemptions. Many governments exempt goods like groceries; base broadening, such as including groceries, could keep rates lower. A sales tax should exempt business-to-business transactions which, when taxed, cause tax pyramiding. to services. The proposal comes in the wake of a state supreme court decision which held that Allegheny County’s property taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. assessment practices violate the Pennsylvania Constitution because it uses 2002 as a base year and does not provide for regular adjustments and reassessments. Most Pennsylvania counties use base values and thus could be challenged on the same grounds.

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