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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Smart Talk Friday is a fast-paced program featuring thoughtful and engaging conversations about the politics, policy and people who are shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Host Scott LaMar and WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.


Hosts: Scott LaMar and Mary Wilson

Smart Talk: PA businesses not optimistic; Property tax reform?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Apr 25, 2014 3:42 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, April 28, 2014:

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If there is an issue that most Pennsylvania homeowners could agree on, it is how much they dislike property taxes.

They see property taxes as unfair because the tax is not based on the ability to pay, but instead the value of one's home and land. 

For much of the past three decades legislators have talked about property tax reform or finding another tax that would generate the same amount of revenue for local school districts.  So far, no one has come up with anything that would satisfy most people.

A hearing will be held this week on a bill to replace property taxes with income or sales taxes.

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Kim Skumanick, President of the PA Association of Realtors, Chuck Liedike, Real Reform 76 Campaign Manager

The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors claim to represent homeowners in supporting the proposal.  They appear on Monday's Smart Talk.

Also, the health of the economy can often be measured by the opinions of small businesses.  If that's the case, Pennsylvania still faces some economic challenges.

According to the American Express OPEN 2014 Small Business Monitor, only 37% of Pennsylvania small businesses have a positive outlook of the economy over the next six months and only 25% say they plan to hire new employees.

Alice Bredin, an adviser to American Express OPEN joins us on Smart Talk to analyze the survey results.

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Comments: 15

  • NSmith img 2014-04-28 08:13

    Scott-
    I like your program. But when you are talking to someone representing the Realtor's Association, please pronounce "realtor" correctly. It is a 2 syllable word: REAL - TOR not REAL-A-TOR. Keep up the good work!

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-28 08:19

    Since landlords will be effectively get a significant reduction in expenses, while renters will have a significant hike in taxation, will rental property owners be required to reduce rent for tenants, or will they be permitted to see this instead as a boon and fortuitous event???

    Manuel

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-28 08:20

    i am an investor in real estate. i invest in lancaster city, pa. the real estate taxes are unbelievable, i have to pass the costs on to the tenant. my tenants are section 8 which just means the federal government is paying the tax since section 8 is federally funded (tax revenue).

    has anyone ever looked into what happened to the gambling money for school tax reduction. to me it was more talk and very little substance in tax reduction.

    thank you,
    thomas

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-28 08:24

    You have all forgotten the real reason for real estate tax. the real reason is to keep the land productive. real estate taxes keep the prices for homes low. look at China where they have very high prices for homes and no real estate taxes. this is because without real estate taxes will hold on to homes forever. we should be encouraging the old people to leave their homes and sell them to young productive members of society not find ways to keep them in homes that don't make sense.
    Alex

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-28 08:26

    I disagree completely with the rationalization that renters will benefit from this bill. My son and his family cannot afford to buy a house, so they must rent. Now they will be asked to pay more in other taxes, pushing the dream of owning their own home further away. Landlords will get a windfall by a reduced property tax without the requirement to lower rents by an equal amount. And yes, renters certainly pay their fair share in school taxes through their rents.This bill is repressive and pushes the poor, low and fixed income people further down the ladder.
    Tom

  • sgibson71 img 2014-04-28 08:31

    Love your program, thanks. I would love to see this reform passed. I personally think no property tax should be allowed. I can think of no other personal property that can be taken away from a person for failure to pay tax on it once it's paid for. I am fortunate to have paid off my mortgage, but yet I continue to pay and pay on the property.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-28 08:42

    Is there anything more regressive than asking a 60 or 70 yr old single person to pay three times the amount a parent in their 30s or 40s pay?
    However, sending local dollars out of town only to have Harrisburg give away your money to someone 200 miles away is a non-starter & deal killer.
    Michael

    michael

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-04-28 08:42

    Scott:

    I believe that both you and your guests have not labeled this topic correctly. It is not property tax REFORM, it is property tax ELIMINATION for school districts. I understand that eliminating the school property tax will help their industries and their personal bottom line, but there are negative consequences for many others if the school property taxes are eliminated.

    I live in a Township with a large commercial and industrial base -- those property owners will suddenly not be supporting the school district that provides them with an educated workforce. Since the elderly do not generally have jobs, they will not be paying much in either income or sales taxes, effectively shifting the tax burden to wage earners.

    Tax reform which alleviates taxes on the poor and/or perhaps reduces the total amount of the real estate tax levied would be a reform. This is a tax shift and not a very good one at that. Reducing the real estate tax would be done far more simply if the State would simply increase the State payments to school districts. Statewide, perhaps an increase in the income tax to ALLEVIATE the specific problems by sending more direct aid to school districts would be real tax reform.

    Finally, isn't there already a way for school districts to reduce their property taxes by enacting increased earned income taxes in their district -- but no school district has done this?

    Lee
    York

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-04-28 09:01

    Rich writes...
    At some point in life...70, 80,...100 there must be an end to a personn's property tax or any substitute for it.

  • henry15051 img 2014-04-28 09:03

    Scott,

    Appreciate the discussion but more unanswered questions. I did not get through by phone and post the big question in regard to SB76 why has the state legislative been so slow in really dealing with state govt. structure to reform it and amend the state constitution to become relevant to the the 21st century. The current structure is a major hurdle to reforms such as school tax.

    Here are a few suggestions. Why not establish an independent state commission that establish the physical assets of all schools and get rid of the class system of schools? The current system is a class system based on the communities social / economic structure which fosters real estate tax revenue to support. Why should a urban, suburban, or rural school vary? Likewise why should there be a difference in school education programs from district to district?

    The whole system is regressive and holds to the culture and thinking of founders who were white males . Why continue it? The only reason would be to agree to that lifestyle and promote inequality.

    Stop passing the ping pong ball across the table and get legislatures to work towards an affordable education system that can contribute to humanity and if not then those reading vote them out.

    Two cents.

    Earl

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-04-28 09:03

    Mike writes...
    As a local School Board representative, I totally agree that action needs to be taken for property tax reform as it has been talked about for way too long! However, I am extremely concerned about taking away the local autonomy for communities and the responsibility of educating our children! I expect no two of the 501 school districts in PA are similar. My biggest concern is transferring those revenues to our State Legislators to decide upon how the funds are spent and divided up. They cannot agree on a timely State budget let alone adding more funds into the mix! Your comments please!

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-04-28 09:04

    Mike adds...
    I don’t agree with the comments. We are getting block funding to spend for certain items that we have to decide upon priorities—that block funding has been decreased. And mandate are another issue!!!
    Politics stinks!

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-04-28 09:06

    Blaine states his opinion...
    When I see something that will support struggling schools, I might support it. I am lucky enough to send my children to a good suburban school. Unfortunately some do not have that opportunity. This is just sleight of hand. We could eliminate property tax but then the money must come from somewhere. I can see the districts with well to do people saying we pay most of the tax we should get the best schools.

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-04-28 09:07

    Earl says...
    Appreciate the discussion but more unanswered questions. I did not get through by phone and post the big question in regard to SB76 why has the state legislative been so slow in really dealing with state govt.
    structure to reform it and amend the state constitution to become relevant to the the 21st century. The current structure is a major hurdle to reforms such as school tax.

    Here are a few suggestions. Why not establish an independent state commission that establish the physical assets of all schools and get rid of the class system of schools? The current system is a class system based on the communities social / economic structure which fosters real estate tax revenue to support. Why should a urban, suburban, or rural school vary? Likewise why should there be a difference in school education programs from district to district?

    The whole system is regressive and holds to the culture and thinking of founders who were white males . Why continue it? The only reason would be to agree to that lifestyle and promote inequality.

    Stop passing the ping pong ball across the table and get legislatures to work towards an affordable education system that can contribute to humanity and if not then those reading vote them out.

    Two cents.

  • Chuck - Real Reform 76 img 2014-04-28 11:16

    Scott - thanks again for having Kim and I speak today. Certainly need more time to discuss this important issue next time though! There are a couple comments I wanted to address immediately. First, skyrocketing property taxes have an incredibly destabilizing effect on the rental market. Landlords are unable to accurately predict long-term overhead costs, and renters are sometimes left having to foot part of that bill. Property taxes affect everyone – not just property owners. Senate Bill 76 will afford landlords greater predictability and create a more stable market for renters. Real property tax reform is tax relief for everyone. Next, some have shown concern about dollars going to Harrisburg. Senate Bill 76 establishes the Education Stabilization Fund, which will collect those dollars raised from increases in the personal income tax and sales tax. Those dollars must be invested in local school districts, in exchange for eliminating school property taxes. Local districts will still have the power to levy taxes of their own, and will have full control over the dollars they receive from the Education Stabilization Fund. With SB 76 in place, Pennsylvania’s Legislature will have the same responsibility to invest our tax dollars in our public schools as it does now. They will have the ability to invest more dollars into our schools through the Stabilization Fund. And voters will always retain the power to hold their local school boards – and their legislators – accountable for how their tax dollars are spent – or not spent – on public education. Learn more by visiting www.RealReform76.com.

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