Realtors urge elimination of school property tax

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The Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors recently hosted a forum on school property tax reform and opened its doors to the public as part of an ongoing effort to serve as a resource for Lehigh Valley residents.

Our association is committed to sharing the latest industry insights with the community. School property tax reform is a hot topic and LVAR is taking the lead on this issue.

LVAR and the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors support The Property Tax Independence Act (Senate Bill 76). As defenders of homeownership and property rights, our associations are committed to real property tax reform.

Senate Bill 76 proposes to eliminate school property taxes and replace the lost funding through increases in the personal income tax and sales tax.

According to PAR, personal income tax would rise from 3.07 to 4.34 percent, while sales tax would increase from 6 to 7 percent and be widened in scope to include previously untaxed items. With the proposed increases in personal income and sales tax, Pennsylvania’s rate remains competitive and is lower than surrounding states such as New Jersey and Ohio.

The elimination of school property tax lifts the burden of unreasonably high property taxes from homeowners-only and fairly spreads responsibility across all segments of Pennsylvania citizens and visitors alike.

Although the primary beneficiaries of SB 76 are homeowners, all Pennsylvanians may benefit from its implementation.

For example, renters could benefit, as property owners will have more stable costs that may reduce dramatic rent increases. And small-business owners who currently pay school property tax will no longer need to pass those along to consumers through their products and services.

PAR teamed up with Anderson Economic Group to perform an economic impact study, and the results showed that with slight improvements, the legislation can work. The state’s Independent Fiscal Office in Harrisburg corroborates the economic impact study.

LVAR hosted special guest speaker Jason Horwitz of Anderson Economic Group at its school property tax forum, and he shared how school property tax elimination is possible with new legislation.

Along with PAR, LVAR supports the legislation as a critical factor in the continuing recovery of the real estate industry. For more than 30 years, our state legislators have tried and failed to deliver real property tax reform for homeowners.

Senate Bill 76 is the solution to real reform, as it may provide the relief so many homeowners want and need. We urge both legislators and taxpayers to support this bill.

Throughout the commonwealth, rising school property taxes have made it difficult for homeowners to pay their taxes. Senior homeowners who have paid off their mortgages are losing their homes because of escalating school property taxes, and younger homebuyers are pushed out of the market by extraordinarily high property taxes.

It continues to make homeownership unattainable by doubling the monthly mortgage payment in many regions.

The Property Tax Independence Act will provide immediate property tax relief for all Pennsylvania homeowners and small businesses that pay school property tax.

It is imperative that we support school property tax reform to continue to make the American dream of homeownership a reality.

With more than 2,000 Realtor members, LVAR is a change agent for school property tax reform. We encourage you to become well informed on this important legislation.

Senate Bill 76 offers a fiscally responsible plan for property tax reform.

As the lead source of real estate information in the Lehigh Valley, the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors encourages you to visit www.realreform76.com to learn more about Senate Bill 76. After reviewing the information, contact your state senator and ask for his or her support on this bold vision for real property tax reform.

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