The average homeowner in the State College Area School District faces at least a 5.7 percent real estate tax increase next year. The district is scheming to exempt 300-400 individual homeowners.
This scheme as described in the March 3 CDT cannot pass the restrictions in Article VIII, sections 1 and 2(b)(ii) in the Constitution of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“All taxes shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, and shall be levied and collected under general laws.” (Article VIII, section 1)
“The General Assembly may, by law: ... (e)stablish as a class or classes of subjects of taxation the property or privileges of persons who, because of age, disability, infirmity or poverty are determined to be in need of tax exemption or of special tax provisions, and for any such class or classes, uniform standards and qualifications.” (Article VIII, section 2(b)(ii) relevant part)
Any person outside of these four classes identified as age, disability, infirmity or poverty is not eligible for special tax provisions. Thus, if the SCASD wishes to use as a class of persons who are aged, then all aged persons must be uniformly treated and excused from property taxes; if the district lists as a class those who are disabled, then all disabled persons are to be uniformly treated and excused from property taxes; choose infirm as a class, then all in this class are uniformly exempted from property tax; if the class is those who are in poverty, then all persons so afflicted with poverty are to be provided special tax privilege.
The district’s proposed scheme fails the constitutional restrictions identified requiring uniformity of taxation limited to the four identified classes.
Yvonne Wright Hunter