HARRISBURG – In an effort to reduce property taxes, yet result in equitable school funding across Monroe County and the entire state, Reps. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) and Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) favor legislation to be unveiled soon that introduces a modernized school funding method that is based on 21st century economic realities.
“Slow-growing areas across the Commonwealth benefit from this outdated school funding formula, leaving booming areas, like Monroe County, desperate for additional school funding,” said Scavello. “I support House Bill 1776 because my district cannot continue to raise taxes, and language of this legislation provides avenues to correct this inequity.”
Scavello and Brown recently reined in the support of other state lawmakers from fast-growing counties regarding their state lawsuit, which is slated to be filed soon, to overturn the state’s education funding formula that has penalized Monroe County’s fast-growing school districts for 20 years.
Monroe County’s school districts, like many other fast-growing school districts across the state, rank at or near the bottom in per-pupil aid statewide because a 1991 “hold harmless” provision guarantees no district in the state will ever receive less total funding, even if student population declines. That translates to less funding per pupil for those districts, which have grown so much since then.
“Skyrocketing property taxes that have plagued fast-growing areas of the state is a result of this unfair funding formula. This plan represents an innovative method to share the school funding burden among a greater population, thereby lessening the pain on homeowners and those with fixed incomes,” said Brown.
House Bill 1776, The Property Tax Independence Act, would eliminate school property and local school nuisance taxes across the Commonwealth and would replace those taxes with funding from a single state source.
The major thrusts of House Bill 1776 include:
• Abolishing the school property tax and eliminating the local school earned income
tax and nuisance taxes such as the per capita and privilege-to-work taxes
imposed by school districts.
• Providing a predictable and stable funding source that is tied to economic growth,
which is in clear contrast to the school property tax which is not based on
economic growth and is subject to much variation.
• Using the state’s current sales tax mechanism to fund schools, restoring the
original intent of the tax since it provides a predictable and stable funding source
that is tied to economic growth. This differs from the school property tax, which is
not based on economic growth and is subject to much variation.