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State Senator Lisa M. Boscola - Your Voice in Harrisburg

Important information on Question on Tomorrow’s Ballot

Before you head to the polls tomorrow, I wanted to share again an op-ed that Senator Browne and I wrote to urge a “yes” vote on the homestead exclusion referendum.

Citizens Urged to Vote ‘Yes’ on Property Tax Referendum

Citizens of Pennsylvania will have an opportunity to cast their vote for an important ballot question which could lead to real property tax reform. We are urging citizens to vote yes.

property taxDue to its legal language and structure, ballot questions are often written in confusing and hard-to-understand and this one is no different. However, the underlying issue is pretty straight forward. By voting yes, voters will approve a constitutional amendment to expand the homestead exclusion from one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead properties in a taxing district to up to 100 percent of the assessed value of each homestead property.

Essentially, if approved, this would allow local taxing authorities – school districts, municipalities – to offer not only a reduction in a homeowner’s property tax, but also potentially the elimination of their local property tax. It would also base the relief on the value of a particular property, not on a figure based on the value of all properties in that taxing district.

Pennsylvania’s property tax system is antiquated. It has its roots in medieval England at a time when land ownership and personal wealth were strongly associated. We all know that is no longer necessarily the case. However, this archaic system serves as the backbone of funding our local municipal and school district operations.

Over the past few decades, the majority of the increased education costs have been borne by local property owners. This has had a particularly devastating effect on older communities with large senior citizen populations and continues to serve as a barrier of entry into homeownership for many younger, working class families. Unfortunately, finding a solution for homeowner property tax burden has eluded the General Assembly.

One element that proves difficult when looking to provide property tax relief is the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The uniformity provision requires that all properties within a municipality or school district must be taxed at the same rate, whether they are a primary residence, vacation property or businesses. While this constitutional provision may seem to assure tax fairness, it actually preserves the state’s antiquated property tax system and hampers efforts to devise an equitable tax structure that provides desperately needed property tax relief.

This important ballot referendum would alter the uniformity provision in the state’s constitution in a way that benefits all homeowners.  If voters approve this ballot question, the General Assembly will need to pass legislation that would permit local governments to exclude up to 100 percent of the assessed value of a homestead property. Then it will be up to state government working in partnership with local taxing authorities to determine how best to fund the increased homestead exemption.

Simply put, this ballot question moves forward the process to provide meaningful property tax relief for Pennsylvania homeowners. This is why we ask you to vote in support of this ballot question on Tuesday, November 7th.

And finally, I wanted to share some views on the referendum to provide additional information:

Ballot Question Could Lead to Property Tax Change

By Kent Jackson | October 16, 2017

A question on the Nov. 7 ballot provides a way for school districts, counties and municipalities to zero out property taxes that owners pay on the homes or farms where they live.

What the question doesn’t do is ensure that local governments will take the option that lets them reduce “up to 100 percent of the assessed value of each homestead property” within their jurisdictions.

Continue Reading at The Citizens' Voice »

Proposed constitutional amendment would enable future tax reform legislation

By the Pennsylvania School Boards Association

This November, voters will have the opportunity to consider an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution proposed by Joint Resolution 1 of 2017.

Recently passed through the General Assembly as House Bill 1285, the resolution proposes to amend the constitution by authorizing the General Assembly to enact legislation allowing local taxing authorities (counties, municipalities and school districts) to exclude from property taxation up to the full assessed value of each homestead property within the taxing jurisdiction. Currently, the constitution caps homestead exclusions at 50% of the median assessed value of all homestead property within a local taxing jurisdiction

Continue Reading at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association »


Vote Yes on Referendum Tomorrow

By Kathleen McQuilkin | November 6, 2017

As Realtors®, we understand how much Americans value homeownership. We work to advocate for homeowners at the local, state and national levels. It’s one of the reasons the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® supports the state referendum on the ballot tomorrow and we’re urging Realtors® and homeowners to vote “yes.”

Day in and day out, we hear from homeowners throughout the state who are overburdened with property taxes. Some people can no longer afford to live in their homes because of increases in property taxes. And the overwhelmingly high property taxes are keeping others from being able to purchase a home. PAR believes that passing the referendum will pave the way for property tax reduction or elimination, which would ultimately be a good development for Pennsylvania’s homeowners.

Continue Reading at JustListed.com »

Voters Guide: The Property Tax Ballot Question

By Beth Brelje | October 31, 2017

In the Nov. 7 election, voters will get the chance to say if Pennsylvania's county and local governments and school districts should get a chance to step away from the property tax.

A question on the ballot asks voters about the collection of the property tax. The results don't mean that property taxes will become a thing of the past.

Continue Reading at The Reading Eagle »

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola


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