Monday, November 19, 2007

Funding Public Education

We are so preoccupied as a community by our school property taxes that we forget what the issue at hand is - how to subsidize our public schools. And until Harrisburg gives us a funding method that doesn't unfairly burden property owners, education programs will be sacrificed in favor of more reasonable property taxes. Unfortunately the alternatives offered to Bucks County residents only add to the burden.

They gave us Act 72, then Act 1, and now it's HB1600. These are some of the attempts at property tax reform given to us by Harrisburg; the first two went down to overwhelming defeat at the hands of the public and HB1600 is probably not too far behind. The problem with all these bills is that for most homeowners in Bucks County, they will pay more in increased income taxes than they will receive from property tax reductions.

Confused? You should be . . . currently there are approximately 11 measures being considered in Harrisburg to "reform" taxes, and the majority of them will increase the tax burden on Bucks County homeowners. Doesn't sound much like reform, does it? There is one bill authored by State Rep Sam Rohrer of Reading (pictured above), HB1275, that sets out to do the one thing the others do not - ELIMINATE school property taxes. HB1275 looks to broaden the existing sales tax base (not increase sales tax, just expand the items that are taxable) and increase state income tax by .85%. In exchange, HB1275 forever eliminates your school property taxes. Do the math . . . if you're a homeowner, you'll save a bundle. If you need help, here's a property tax calculator.

In order for HB1275 to be enacted, it must have the support of our locally elected representatives. Write to our friends in Harrisburg and tell them to support HB1275. Call them on the phone. Tell them not to give us tax reform measures that will increase the burden on Bucks County Homeowners. Whatever you do, don't do NOTHING. Contact your representative today!

You can contact State Rep Chris King by going to the following site; State Senator Tommy Tomlinson can be reached via

If you get any feedback from one of our representatives, please add comments to this post so that everyone can see what's being said.

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