Opportunity to Change State’s Reliance on Property Taxes Coming in November

A November ballot will ask Pennsylvania voters to decide if local authorities should be able to exempt residents from paying property taxes. Image via Ed Hille, Philadelphia Inquirer.

A statewide ballot in November will give Pennsylvania voters the chance to change the state’s often-criticized reliance on property taxes, writes Laura McCrystal for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

One of the questions on the ballot will ask voters if their local taxation authority should be allowed to exclude all taxpayers from paying any property taxes on their primary residence. The current system only allows local authorities to exempt taxpayers from paying tax on up to 50 percent of the median assessed value of their homes.

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Pennsylvania currently has one of the nation’s highest tax rates, with property taxes accounting for around 30 percent of local and state tax revenue. Also, property taxes statewide vary by location.

An Upper Merion resident, whose home has a market value of $250,000, will pay $3,437.57 in total property taxes this year, while homeowners in West Chester and Cheltenham will pay $4,234.57 and $7,867.11, respectively, on properties of the same value.

Jay Himes, Executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, said that the association believes the option to eliminate property tax on primary residences is a good idea, as long as a proper revenue replacement is found.

Read more about the upcoming ballot in the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.

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