Friday, November 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Plan would hike Pa. sales and income taxes, end property tax

Gains votes in Harrisburg

Plan would hike Pa. sales and income taxes, end property tax

There's bipartisan support in the Pa. Senate and House for a proposal to ban the local property taxes that Pennsylvanians pay to support public schools, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports here.  

Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York, the waste-disposal magnate and backer of conservative causes who recently won a special election over a mainstream-Republican-endorsed candidate, is leading the charge, backed by members of both parties who note the property tax is:
  1) unpopular, especially among the non-working older homeowners who form an unusually large part of Pennsylvania's voting population;
  2) more favorable for rich suburban and commercial areas, and penalizes poor rural, urban and residential districts;
  3) rises, historically, a lot faster than Pennsylvania incomes.

Opponents, including the state Chamber of Commerce, note property taxes are:
  1) easier to collect than income or property taxes; 
  2) a lot steadier source of income when the economy slows, than sales or income taxes, which tend to fall when they are most needed, forcing budget cuts or additional tax hikes;
  3) a lot harder to escape: Higher sales taxes in Philadelphia's southern suburbs, for example, can be avoided by shopping in tax-free Delaware.

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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