Tax Reform On Whose Backs

Mary Young wrote the following article last week in the Reading Eagle.

Another proposal to eliminate the school property tax was put on the table this week. I can’t say for sure, but I think it has a better chance of survival than any of its many predecessors. Momentum is building.

Sixty-two co-sponsors have signed on, or seven more than the last version in April 2012 and 35 more than the previous version in February 2011. The 62 include six from Allegheny County, an area that wasn’t too enthused about past proposals.

No Philadelphia lawmakers are on board yet, but some are expected to be soon, because a recent reassessment of property values is driving up tax bills there for a lot of people.

The city also stands to gain tons of money on its 1 percent sales tax surcharge, because the proposal would expand the tax to more items.

The numbers work. The proposal as it now stands would raise the personal income tax to 4.34 percent from 3.07 percent and the sales tax to 7 percent from 6 percent. The income tax was bumped up a little from the 2012 proposal after an Independent Fiscal Office study confirmed suspicions that the previous version came up short of fully funding public education.

These tax increases would be far less painful than the property tax because workers would pay only about 1.25 cents more in income tax out of each dollar they earn, and everyone would pay just one penny more in sales tax for every $1 they spend.

People and businesses would have more disposable income to spend and help stimulate the state’s economy, and would make the state more attractive as a location for new business and expansion of existing businesses, according to the IFO study.

The total number of taxpayer groups supporting the proposal now stands at 76, an increase of five since last year.

The Reading Eagle’s informal poll about the latest proposal drew 1,666 responses, with 89 percent in favor.

And, during a visit to Reading last week, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley said he and Gov. Tom Corbett are well aware that the school tax is based on the antiquated notion that a person who owns property has lots of money, and that they would support a change as long as the ultimate result would raise all the money needed for education.

Corbett also is now on the record as saying he would sign a law eliminating the school tax if one should reach his desk.

Contact Mary Young: 610-478-6292 or myoung@readingeagle.com.

As I have written before this is NOT the elimination of the property tax but as Mary Young does point out only the school property tax.  Yes, I know that that IS the largest portion of the property tax.  I also know when the businesses get their windfall they are going to take the profits and run!  Reinvest in this down economy …… BULL.

I have several other points that need to be made.

1)  How much money is Berks County going to lose in this deal?  I know you don’t understand the question so let me rephrase it.  If the money goes to a central pot in Harrisburg to be divided among the school districts, how much of the money collected from Berks County will not be returned to Berks County?  Right now all the money collected in Berks stays in Berks!!!!!  Our money finances our schools.  I find that to be a good concept for our young people in school.  We also may take funding cuts on top of everything else as we have in the last two years.  Does the fact that the bill says funding is to remain level really mean anything?  Not to Governor Gasbag, who will do what he wants like he has tried with the lottery and liquor stores.  As an aside I understand the most recent bill pertaining to the sale of the liquor stores no longer guarantees the money will go to education! In the words of Gomer Pyle “SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!”

2)  Regardless of how much the amount is, the support for this comes on the backs of the individuals and goes away from the businesses.  Yes another tax break for the richest of the population.  Believe it or not the business owner is more wealthy in most cases than the non-business owner.  No not in all cases is this true but in more cases than not!!!

3)  People when they realize they have been had (and they will feel that way because the property tax will still be there) are going to be really upset with those governing the state! Now for those of you that may have aspirations of running for house or senate seats this may not be bad.

Now let’s look at this proposal and think about it.  The sales tax goes up and those of us that struggle the most have to pay more both on things already taxed and newly taxed items while businesses get a tax break and increased profits.

On top of this those of us that work and earn money as wages and salaries will have to pay more in income tax again while those same businesses are enjoying the luxury of a tax break.  You say those businesses will reinvest in their businesses. I say BULL they will take the money and sit on it. All of this cost the kids in our schools educational dollars.

The last thing I want to say this time on this subject is the better the educational system the less we need to invest in prisons.    

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