Debate over school property taxes in Pennsylvania is expected to return to the Legislature in 2017.
Senate supporters say the Nov. 8 election provided the necessary votes to eliminate school property taxes entirely and replace them with other revenue streams.
That would mean shifting about $14 billion in taxes from property owners, including businesses, to Pennsylvania consumers and workers through sales and personal income taxes.
An Associated Press analysis of state data found that more than 70 percent of school property taxes were collected by the wealthiest half of school districts in 2014-15.
Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill, will introduce the leading proposal, which would increase the income tax rate by 60 percent and hike the state sales tax rate by 17 percent while applying it to a wider range of goods and services, such as groceries, clothing, basic TV and funeral services.
In late 2015, the Senate defeated Argall’s legislation by a 25-24 vote with Lt. Gov. Mike Stack casting the tie-breaker. The vote split both parties and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association opposed it.
But proponents say a pair of incoming Harrisburg-area senators elected in November are replacing two opponents.
“We believe that gets us to the magic number of 26,” Argall said.