Not a day goes by without a Trib report on a school-district dilemma — budgeting issues, tax increases, cost-cutting measures, the pending pension tsunami. School board meetings resemble the Battle of Gettysburg.
In Sto-Rox, baseball and softball are gone, teachers furloughed; it's “see you later” for cafeteria and maintenance workers, plus library service cutbacks. Southmoreland, Mt. Pleasant and Connellsville are balancing budgets with reserve funds.
The solution is on the table and we haven't heard but a peep from Harrisburg. The saving grace: the Property Tax Independence Act (House Bill 76/Senate Bill 76), which would impose an additional 1-percent sales tax on already taxed items/services and add a long list of previously exempt items. The key point is total abolishment of school property taxes!
Have an average $3,500 school-tax bill? The proposed law would require homeowners to purchase $50,000 in newly taxed items to equal the amount of property tax eliminated.
Worried about taxation on certain “life necessities”? We're already getting whacked on the most basic of all: shelter! Buying a new home? Figure your mortgage, add in your monthly property tax bill — forget it, for most.
One huge issue with this proposed taxing shift: more revenue than our elected officials would know what to do with!
The writer was the Republican candidate for the 58th District seat in the state House in 2010.
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