Pa. House GOP plans to release property tax plan

Written by WITF staff report and Radio Pennsylvania | May 11, 2015 8:00 AM

Photo by Lindsay Lazarski/Keystone Crossroads

(Harrisburg) -- Republicans in the state House are expected to unveil their plan for property tax reform this week.

House Majority Leader Dave Reed says after several weeks of meetings, planning and preparation, the GOP tax reform plan is finally ready for consideration.

"We've been working on a proposal for a number of months now. We've had conversations with our colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle and the governor's office," he says. "I know this has been a priority issue for many members of the General Assembly and the governor for quite some time."

The proposal calls for a property tax reduction of between 40 and 60 percent, to be replaced by increases in state sales and personal income taxes, similar to a plan put forth by Governor Tom Wolf.

The biggest difference is the governor wants to increase funding for public schools, while the GOP plan is a dollar-for dollar tax shift.

Republican Representative Stan Saylor's (R-York) plan boasts the support of dozens of House Republicans, including Reed.

He has said his proposal would include better controls to keep school districts from increasing property taxes again, a claim the Wolf administration disputes.

The House GOP bill would keep numerous sales tax exemptions in place (e.g. candy, newspapers, caskets, dry-cleaning) saying they're trying to keep the middle class's overall tax burden low.

That said, their proposed sales tax increase (from six to seven percent) is slightly higher than the governor's proposal (from six percent to 6.6 percent).

The governor stands by his plan.

His office points out key differences - such as proposed property relief for renters, and funding to bring down Philadelphia's taxes on cigarettes, sales, and wages.

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