A Cumberland County commissioner has unveiled a plan he says will provide hundreds of dollars in property tax relief for homeowners.
Jim Hertzler's plan calls for a one percent sales tax in the county. He calls it a "penny on a dollar" plan that is revenue neutral and practical.
"Except for slots at horse race tracks, there hasn't been any real relief," Hertzler said Monday. "What I am proposing today is the possible as opposed to holding out for the perfect.
"I would love to see us totally eliminate the property tax, but in Pennsylvania that would be a $17 billion tax shift that would necessitate an increase in a bunch of other taxes that would be politically and publicly unacceptable," he said.
Hertzler is asking lawmakers to pass legislation that would give counties the option of imposing a sales tax. Based on preliminary projections, he said the one percent sales tax could generate $42.3 million that would be turned into a property tax cut of $700 for every homeowner.
"I understand it is going to take a little time to get this moving," Hertzler said. "I think the people of Pennsylvania deserve some action now. There has been enough talk and political rhetoric. It is time to get something done."
The plan has its critics. Cumberland County Treasurer John Gross says such plans can backfire.
"It is a terrible idea," Gross said. "It already exists in the eastern part of the state. People go outside the city of Philadelphia to buy big ticket items, cars, appliances. It would just hurt the business community in Cumberland County, especially if Franklin, Adams, Perry counties don't have the same tax. People will travel to Gettysburg or New Bloomfield or Chambersburg to buy big ticket items."