Property Tax Independence: Accept No Imitations

Pennsylvania homeowners are well aware of the dismal effects of previous property tax “relief” efforts.


Nearly a decade ago, Ed Rendell ran for governor and was elected on a promise that he would reduce property taxes by legalizing casino gambling.  Today, Pennsylvanians have casinos and higher property tax bills.


Then came Special Session Act 1 of 2006.  Through this monstrosity, legislators in Harrisburg attempted to skirt their responsibility for fixing the property tax problem by punting the issue to school districts through a “local option.”  This meant that school districts could use local income taxes to reduce school property taxes, but only if voters gave their approval.  In areas that did approve the scheme, higher income taxes and higher property taxes have been the result.


From this brief history, it is clear to most homeowners that partial fixes leave families with the ever present threat that a failure to pay property taxes could leave them homeless.


There IS a better approach.  House Bill 1776 and Senate Bill 1400, the Property Tax Independence Act, offer the only hope for all Pennsylvania homeowners to truly own their homes.


In addition to the obvious benefit this would provide to homeowners, it would also be a tremendous advantage to employers and workers.  Every dollar of school property taxes that homeowners and employers do not have to pay can be reinvested into Pennsylvania’s economy.  Homeowners would have more money to spend in our local businesses.  Employers would have more money to invest in their operations and to hire more workers.  Replacing school property taxes would be the catalyst needed to help bring Pennsylvania out of the Great Recession.


Our students perhaps stand to benefit the most from the replacement of the inherently inequitable school property tax system.  Due to great variations in property values, a student in one corner of the Commonwealth may have access to a quality education, while a student in another area may be forced to attend a severely underfunded school that fails to meet that student’s needs.


There are steps you can take to help the effort.


First, I encourage you to contact your state representative and senator and ask him or her to support the Property Tax Independence Act.  Specifically, ask your House and Senate members to co-sponsor this legislation and work for its passage.


In addition, you can visit my website – – to sign an online petition urging Gov. Tom Corbett to support the Property Tax Independence Act.  In his state budget address, the governor failed to mention any plans to address the property tax crisis.  His omission shows that it is important for constituents to remind him that they are watching what he does and that they want him to lead on this important issue by lending his full support to the Property Tax Independence Act.


My website, mentioned above, also has a wealth of information about the Property Tax Independence Act, including all you need to know about how it would replace school property taxes once and for all.


Half-measures only provide homeowners with half ownership of their homes.  Half-measures only leave our economy with half of the economic growth necessary to recover from the Great Recession.  Half-measures only provide our students with half of the financial resources they need to receive a quality education.   Isn’t it time to do more?


If you share in the dream of a Pennsylvania without the burden of school property taxes, I encourage you to join this grassroots fight.  We must replace the school property tax with a fairer and more stable way to fund our education system.  No tax should have the power to leave you homeless.

State Representative Jim Cox
129th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Dan Massing

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