The state House of Representatives approved legislation, HB 2300, that would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow principal places of residence to be excluded from property taxation.
The sponsor of the bill, Dave Maloney, R-Berks, said that it has taken a three-tiered approach toward eliminating residential property taxes — statewide tax structure reform, reforming each school district’s tax structure piecemeal and amending the state constitution to protect homes from property taxes.
“The issue of property taxes, particularly school property taxes, is a difficult matter to get traction on in the General Assembly,” Maloney said in a statement. “The state formula for distributing education funds in Pennsylvania allows school districts with static populations to receive funds disproportionate to their need, while growing school districts get shortchanged. The result is that growing school districts constantly raise property taxes to make up the shortfall, while legislators with districts that have low property taxes are unwilling to vote to change the system.”
HB 2300 would give local taxing authorities the power to completely exclude homesteads from property taxes (right now they can only exclude 50 percent of the median homestead’s assessed value in the taxing jurisdiction), and it would remove the constitutional barrier that prevents the General Assembly from enacting legislation that would provide 100 percent property tax exclusion.
To amend the state constitution, the same bill containing the amendment must be debated and passed in two consecutive sessions, and then approved by referendum vote by the people of Pennsylvania. The governor’s signature is not required. •