May. 19, 2017

HARRISBURG — Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) today introduced legislation, known as the Property Tax Freedom Act, which will give each school district the flexibility to determine funding methods and move districts away from relying on property taxes.

“Too many people are losing their homes because of an inability to pay their school property tax bills,” Ortitay said. “While the school property tax issue has been debated for many years, it’s time to end the discussion and act. I’m hopeful my legislation will bring meaningful reform in short order.”

House Bill 1429 would make the following changes:
  • Allow school districts to enact the following taxes – earned income tax (EIT), occupation, per capita, local services tax (LST), business privilege tax (BPT), real estate transfer, realty, amusement and mercantile.

  • Require any new tax enacted or revenue raised reduce property taxes dollar for dollar permanently.

  • Allow school districts to only raise taxes to the approved limit each year. Any additional increase would have to go to voter referendum. No exceptions would be permitted.

  • Prevent primary residences from being held as a lien for unpaid property taxes. Tax liens and other collections methods, such as wage garnishments and government benefits, could be implemented.

  • Require school districts to reduce property taxes by a minimum of 10 percent in the first year.

  • Allow taxpayers who owe past due school property taxes to pay all taxes and interest due without penalty within 180 days of enactment of this bill.

“This legislation would force school districts to move away from a dependence on property taxes and give them the flexibility to find replacement revenues to fund their budgets,” Ortitay said. “Based on 2013 data, the Tax Foundation found Pennsylvanian homeowners pay the 13th highest property taxes in the nation. This is not a ranking we should be proud of and makes Pennsylvania unattractive to those looking to relocate.”

The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.

Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tracy Polovick
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