Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Issue 7 ----- Property Tax
Candidates Express Their Views on Property Taxes
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 questions. Over the next few days, we will post their answers. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's the seventh of our questions.
What would you do to reduce the burden on property taxpayers?
Act 72 is the current law that through my actions as a superintendent, I have supported. The burden of property taxes must be addressed at the State level otherwise we continue to create unequal funding streams. Act 72 unlike its predecessor Act 50 of 1998 will provide money from the state level to have some relief occur.
Complete elimination of property taxes. This would protect our seniors from losing their life savings to the tax man, encourage home ownership for first time home buyers, and preserve open space by allowing people to keep property undeveloped without being taxed for the privilege. Economic analysis done by the Commonwealth Caucus demonstrates that this can be done with a broad-based, lower sales tax on items currently taxed in 18 other states.
I am a true believer in fiscal conservatism. By spending less, we can tax less. This is the primary key to reducing the overall tax burden. To further alleviate the burden on property owners, I am leaning towards the 4.5% overall sales tax.
I believe taxes must be based on one's ability to pay. I support shifting (revenue neutrally) from property taxes to income tax or sales tax with the approval of local voters. Reform of the tax system must be matched with reform of spending. I support giving taxpayers a strong voice when it comes to school spending increases that outpace inflation through local voter referenda.
Bigus did not respond to our questionnaire. Here's what we got from his web site:
As a school board member I voted to accept Act 72 with the hopes of easing the property tax burden of our citizens, especially older Pennsylvanian's. Secondly, Act 72 would limit taxing authorities and cap the amount of mils raised per year. This would promote better accountability of elected officials.
I know first hand about dealing with taxation and the need for low taxes to make conditions favorable for business and foster job creation. I am committed to addressing reform of our property tax system and the way we fund schools in Pennsylvania. The current structure of education funding unfairly burdens our senior citizens, farmers, and is problematic for young families who want to buy a home. I fully support a meaningful local property tax reform -- but will not allow it to come at the expense of a quality public education.