The Need for Property Tax Reform

Keep Doctors in PA

Pa's Health Care Cost Containment Council


Environmental Issues


Crime


Preserving Open Space


Protecting Lottery Revenues

 

The Need for Property Tax Reform

One of the most pressing issues facing our Commonwealth is the need to reduce burden of school property taxes. I have consistently worked to rebalance the tax funding for our school districts, to provide more school funding from income tax and less from property taxes. Another approach would be to create a rebate program to return major protions of the school property taxes they paid. That would help all homeowners by reducing their property tax, but some of those same homeowners (wage earners) would pay more via an increased earned income tax. The real winners would be our senior citizens and others on fixed or restricted incomes, who can least afford these taxes.

Some people clamor for a total elimination of that property tax, but under our Constitution that would also eliminate property taxes for businesses and industrial properties (think commercial malls and steel factories, as examples). Our current Constitution requires "uniformity"; it will only change if the Constitution is changed, a time-consuming process and one which could pit younger wage earners against our seniors on fixed incomes.

 

 

Environmental Issues

Alternative Energy sources need to be found, and Pennsylvania has been a leader in supporting the development of such fuels but some of these proposals are not cost efficient. As always, we have to assure the taxpayer money is spent wisely.

Alternative energy needs to be part of the national mix, if the U.S. is to meet our energy needs for years to come.

The natural gas find known as the Marcellus Shale geologic formation is a tremendous find, and offers an alternative fuel source for the future. Compressed natural gas is a proven technology. With more than 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, it could provide a major portion of our fuel needs for generations.

 

Crime

We're blessed in Chester County with law abiding citizens and peaceful communities, but we also have pockets of crime with which we've been dealing. I'm proud to be the author of Pennsylvania's Weed and Seed Statute, known as the 'Targeted Communities Revitalization Act' (Act 146).

The Weed and Seed program first seeks to arrest and remove criminals from our streets, and then to seed - to promote programs and initiatives which rebuild the community.

 

Preserving Open Space

We've been very successful in Chester County, and in the Southeastern region of the Commonwealth with initiatives to save our open space and agricultural lands. At the state level we've been active in passing legislation which encourages preservation by buying agricultural easements and authorizing the purchase of future development rights, to provide farmers the cash to continue farming. Our Chester County Commissioners have been leaders in this Commonwealth with their commitment to open space and to the preservation of farms.

Without such efforts, farmers will be financially pressured to sell their farms, most likely to developers of housing, leading to additional children in our schools and additional cars on our roads. Open Space programs provide some relief from those pressure, and I'm glad to support them.