Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pennsylvania Taxpayer Relief Act 1

Pennsylvania Taxpayer Relief Act of 2006 Act 1 (part 3)
Act 1 part 2 post can be found here Pennsylvania Taxpayer Relief Act 1 (part two)

Act 1 part 1 post can be found here Pennsylvania Taxpayer Relief Act 1 (part one)

PA Act 1. This post, # 3 on this subject, will help inform us taxpayers about the misleading information we are being sold to convince us to vote for the Act 1 referendum question on May 2007 ballot to raise local taxes in order to lower our property taxes.

We are basically being led to believe that if we agree to this referendum question that the school district cannot raise taxes in the future without voter approval. Voting yes to the referendum question will give us more control over tax increases by the school districts. This makes me feel good, I finally have some say. Not really, I will have no more control over tax increases than I have today.

Act 1 protects taxpayers in every school district from extraordinary tax increases in
the future by implementing voter controls through a fair referendum requirement
that gives voters control over the most severe tax increases.

The important words in the above statement are extraordinary and most severe tax increase. Well, what is considered extraordinary and most severe? An extraordinary tax increase is one that would require a school district to raise taxes above the state set annual inflationary index for tax millage rate increases. This index calculates the average annual change in employment cost index and average weekly wage. So if the index for your school district happens to be .6% for each of the next lets say 10 or so years, then the school district can raise taxes .6% each year without voter approval. But, I thought voter approval was needed to raise taxes. Not only will we pay more in local taxes, as we voted Yes to the .5% local tax increase, we will pay more next year when the school district raises our property taxes next year.

But, I am led to believe my property taxes cannot be raised unless I vote for an increase. Fooled again. Even if a school district wants to raise property taxes above the index they still don't need my voter approval.
Let's say a school district figures they need a solid 2% increase to remain operationally viable. This would be an extraordinary increase, as 2% is well above the .6% index. Without my approval this won't happen. WRONG. Although this is an extraordinary increase Act 1 provides for a school district the option of petitioning either the Pennsylvania Department of Education or Court of Common Pleas for a “backend referendum” exception to the index cap. These increases may then be approved by either of these entities for things such as: increases in retirement payments that rise faster than the index, non-academic construction costs up to $250,000, new academic construction costs with a cost-per-square-foot limit, debt on existing construction projects, make sure that spending per student keeps pace with inflation, make sure that district revenue keeps pace with inflation, no Child Left Behind school improvement plans, conditions that pose an immediate threat of serious harm or injury, health care benefits in collective bargaining agreements in effect on January 1/2006, that rise faster than the inflation index, and special education costs that increase by more than the index.

So, as one can see, school districts will still have alot of leeway to raise our property taxes. Voting Yes to the Act 1 referendum on the May 15/2007 ballot will clearly not provide us taxpayers any more tax relief than we have now.

Keep saying goodbye to your

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For those interested in sending a complaint to someone about Act 1 we have included the address again for Operation Tax Scam in case you didn't get it in the Act 1 part 2 post.

If you're opposed to Act 1, please write to:

Operation Tax Scam
The Mercury
24 N. Hanover St.
Pottstown, PA 19464.

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At 12:02 PM, Blogger LindsayDayton said...

I thought you'd appreciate this page that my friend just posted--his ideas about personal tax earmarking.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger David said...

The fight for Pennsylvania property tax reform is growing rapidly! Please see:

Author of this blog: Please contact me at



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