Lawmakers hold town hall on eliminating school property taxes


DALLASTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes, but what’s uncertain is how Pennsylvania’s current tax structure will pay for an aging boomer population.

Lawmakers from Lebanon and York counties teamed up on Wednesday to hold a town hall focused on the possibility of eliminating school property taxes.

Seniors are often hit the hardest by property taxes because their income is fixed, unlike their tax rates.

“People that have worked their whole life to work for that home, pay for their home, and now they’re being taxed on the value of their property and not their income,” said Rep. Mike Jones (R-York County).

His partner for the night, Rep. Frank Ryan, isn’t ready to release a bill to eliminate school property taxes yet, but he has an idea.

Ryan is proposing to raise income taxes 1.85 percent, local sales taxes 2 percent and pension taxes by 4.92 percent.

Some people in Wednesday’s crowd weren’t pleased by the thought of their retirement being taxed.

“Here you are, the first thing you want to do is take away my retirement …that was part of my compensation for the 40 years I worked for this company,” said a concerned senior who will be retiring in two years.

Ryan said no personal contributions would be taxed, but he understands that the plan is not ideal. However, he worries if no action is taken, people could be taxed out of their homes and the pension system could fall into even more disarray.

“Seniors save about $3.4 billion, and the replacement cost that we’re asking seniors allow us to tax them is about $1.4 billion,” Ryan said.

Jones agrees with the plan. He said it would keep young families in Pennsylvania.

“People are wanting to come here, create jobs, build the tax base, and then they see what the property taxes are, and they go elsewhere,” Jones said.

These lawmakers want you here and heard.

“Anybody who is really anxious about this, give me options. Talk to me. Call me up, say, ‘Frank, have you thought about this?'” Ryan said.

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