I have learned that a bill to eliminate school property tax is gaining support in the Pennsylvania Senate. The bill would replace that tax with an increased income tax (from 3.07 to 4.34 percent) and sales tax (from 6 to 7 percent).
Although I see a few problems with the bill, it’s a great first step.
As a senior receiving retirement benefits, I see a problem developing with the state’s reliance on the personal income tax. Our current system only taxes earned income (like wages and salaries) and some investment income. However, most retirement income (pensions, Social Security, IRAs, etc.), are tax exempt. Couple this with the state’s changing demographics, an increasing number of retirees and declining work age population, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Keep in mind that school taxes don’t pay for senior care infrastructure. Much of this cost is paid by working families.
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I have an alternative that I’ve shared with my state representative. Eliminate the school property tax, leave the sales tax alone, expand the tax base to include pensions and Social Security and create a progressive tax (no more than three brackets). If structured properly, I believe the poor and unemployed can be protected against property seizure.
I support the current proposal for the short term but we cannot permit the state’s lifeblood (working people) to be driven from the state by an ever increasing income tax burden.
Call your state legislators today. Let’s finally get it done.
Terry Kordes, Port Matilda