Following is a listing of legislative action for the week of December 3. Members of the General Assembly are set to begin a new legislative session on January 1, 2013.
A legislative report on property tax reform filed at the end of the 2011-12 session is almost certain to generate legislation when the next two-year session begins January 1, according to legislative sources.
Sources said one likely bill would seek to amend the state Constitution to allow local governments to exempt homes from property taxes. To replace the loss in revenue, the General Assembly would have to vote to increase the state’s 6 percent sales tax, or allow local governments to raise the earned income tax.
The legislative report stems from the House Select Committee on Property Tax Reform, chaired by state Representative Tom Quigley, R-Montgomery.
“The issue of property tax reform has vexed this General Assembly for more than four decades,” Quigley said. “This issue has been an ongoing concern in my district and other regions throughout the state. I believe it is imperative to keep moving forward with the dialogue and the examination of property tax reform. If we don’t move forward, the inertia of the status quo will pull us backward.”
The 13-member bipartisan select committee was formed by HR 774. It held hearings throughout the summer and fall.
The sponsor of a plan to change Pennsylvania from a winner-take-all electoral vote system in the presidential election to one where the votes are awarded proportionally said he will introduce the proposal when the General Assembly convenes in January.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, introduced a similar plan in 2011. At the time, Democrats, and even some Republicans, criticized it and it ultimately went nowhere.
In a memo to colleagues, Pileggi wrote that the legislation is not the same as Senate Bill 1282 of the 2011-12 legislative session.
“That legislation would have allocated electors based on a district system,” Pileggi said in the memo.
Under the new plan, according to the memo, two of Pennsylvania’s 20 electors would be chosen on a statewide, at-large basis. The remaining 18 would be chosen based on the percentage of the statewide vote earned by each candidate.
Pileggi wrote that under this system, President Obama would have received 12 of the state’s 20 electoral votes. He won 52.088 percent of the popular vote in November.
The U.S. Constitution gives each state a number of electors to the Electoral College equal to the combined total of its Senate membership and House of Representatives delegation. Presidential electors are chosen by the voters.