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CPBJ Extra Blog

With my mind on my taxes and my taxes on my mind

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Property tax reform in Pennsylvania, in some strange way, takes me back to 1993 and an iconic rap song about gin and juice.

No, there is no sex, marijuana or alcohol in this story.

But like the chorus of that Snoop Dogg song, there are a lot of people with their mind on money and money on the mind.

You'll have to look up the full lyrics on your own because that's where the comparison ends for this blog.

Along with transportation funding, the debate over property tax relief has found its way back to the top of the pile in the General Assembly this fall.

Earlier this month, the state House passed Rep. Seth Grove's optional property tax elimination bill. That bill would allow school districts to use earned income tax, business privilege tax or a mercantile tax as a way to eliminate or reduce millage rates. They also could use a combination approach with those taxes.

Grove's bill is part of a four-bill package that recently ascended to the forefront of the debate.

But let's not forget about the Property Tax Independence Act, or House Bill 76 and Senate Bill 76, that was introduced earlier this year. Those proposals would eliminate property taxes dedicated to school districts and replace the funding by raising the personal income tax from 3.07 to 4.34 percent and increasing and broadening the sales tax to 7 percent from 6 and include previously exempted items.

The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors just launched a dedicated website for S.B. 76, The PAR has called the bill a "fiscally responsible option for property tax reform."

S.B. 76 would make Pennsylvania more attractive for economic development and homeownership, according to the PAR.

But analysis from the state's Independent Fiscal Office suggests the math doesn't quite add up in the H.B. 76 and S.B. 76 plan.

The net fiscal impact of replacing the revenue streams would be $3 million in the first year and as much as $1 billion by 2018-19, according to the IFO.

Where do you come down on this issue? Should it be a statewide solution or do you let local taxing bodies decide what works best for them?

Tough call. Maybe it is time for that drink.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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