Update to our hotly contended school property tax issue in PA...the vote last week was a tie folks! And several Senators failed to show up to vote (why I have no clue).
The Lt Governor had to break the tie. It is very upsetting that he did so by voting "No" to Senate Bill 76 and did so with a very evident smirk on his face. It caused such an uproar that grassroots campaigners are now organizing around the state to make sure those who voted "No" will not be re-elected.
Not sure what will happen next, I am watching for updates daily...
Pennsylvania is struggling right now with the state budget. We are not alone. Many states in the Union have had similar struggles. What makes this budget especially significant though is the potential to pass Pennsylvania's Senate Bill 76. This would essentially begin the process to stop the ever increasing school property taxes PA residents are suffering from and increase the State's sales tax and slightly increase the State's personal income tax.
Over 250,000 PA residents have lost their homes due to the inability to pay for their school property taxes (this bill ONLY includes school property tax, NOT local or county taxation which would continue to be paid by property owners). Many who have lost their homes are the elderly who live on fixed incomes and cannot afford the ever increasing taxation school boards and assessment offices enact to support the spending.
Another population that suffers are the first time home buyers who simply cannot afford the home payments AND the additional tax payments in their monthly mortgage payments. In some areas of PA the school property taxes for a $180K home are over $8000 annually.
Many PA residents have had enough and have on-boarded with a grass roots campaign to not only support this bill but also to help draft and revise it. The PA Association of Realtors are also supporters. Some PA Senators also were involved. But they have BIG opponents, the Teacher's Unions for one and many, many others who ironically would probably benefit if they decided to support SB 76 instead of oppose it such as:
Pennsylvania Coalition to End Homelessness
Just Harvest: A Center for Action Against Hunger
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
Chester County Food Bank
Coalition Against Hunger
The key point here is PA residents have more control over what they spend and how much they spend (the argument to increase the state sales tax) versus the continued & increasing school property taxation of home owners who have very little control over the amount they are assessed and ordered to pay through their county assessment office and school board officials.
Certain PA Senators who once supported SB76 have turned "Benedict Arnold" recently as the vote day approaches, true colours are coming out. I will continue to monitor this hot button issue as it directly affects the buying and staying power of local PA home owners I work with in the real estate market.