PA Realtors® campaign supports statewide referendum

By HOM Editor

Election Day.

Pennsylvania voters sent a strong message to the state legislature – they want property tax reform – following the state municipal election last November.

The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® engaged in a consumer campaign to help homeowners understand the importance of the ballot question and to urge them to vote “yes” on the issue. The referendum passed by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin.

The referendum amended the state constitution to allow taxing authorities to exempt residents from paying property taxes on their primary residences. The Homestead Exclusion Amendment would allow local taxing authorities to exclude up to 100 percent of the assessed value of a home from taxation. Previously, the law allowed the exclusion up to one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead property.

The state legislature can now enact legislation to enable local municipalities and/or school districts to eliminate property taxes by implementing other taxes in lieu of the property tax. If municipalities take advantage of the Homestead Exclusion Amendment, funding could be replaced through a personal income tax, an earned income tax or another undefined tax, which puts them in control of their local tax collections.

PAR President Kathy McQuilkin said: “Passing this referendum is a necessary step in the journey to reform property taxes in Pennsylvania. Over the years, Realtors® have heard from homeowners throughout the state who are overburdened with property taxes and can no longer afford to live in their homes because of overwhelming property taxes. And high property taxes are keeping others from being able to purchase a home. Now our legislators will have the opportunity to pass legislation to allow the local school districts to fund schools with other sources like personal income tax or sales tax.”

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