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House Select Committee on Property Tax Reform Reviews Proposals, Says Simmons
8/21/2012
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Northampton) Monday participated in the first meeting of the recently formed House Select Committee on Property Tax Reform at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. Simmons was one of 13 House members named to the bipartisan committee, which will study the property tax issue in Pennsylvania and review proposed reform legislation currently under consideration. The committee is scheduled to report its findings and recommendations to the House by Nov. 30.

“I’m excited to really get better educated on this issue and to reach a point where all of us are experts on property taxes in order to actually create change here in Harrisburg,” said Simmons. “It’s going to be virtually impossible to craft a solution that makes everyone happy and I think we have to realize that. Some of us are going to have to make concessions.”



The committee heard testimony from the prime sponsors of the following property tax proposals that have been recently introduced in the General Assembly: 

        • House Bill 2230, sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), would allow school 
            districts to reduce or eliminate property taxes and replace them with a 1 percent 
            increase in the county sales tax, with voter approval. The measure would also 
            allow local governments to levy an income tax to reduce millage rates by at least 
            30 percent. The bill was voted out of the House Finance Committee and sent to 
            the House floor for consideration. 
        • House Bill 2300, sponsored by Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks), would amend the 
            Pennsylvania Constitution to allow principal places of residence to be completely 
            excluded from property taxation. Such a constitutional change requires passage 
            in two consecutive sessions and then the approval of voters. The measure was 
            unanimously passed by the House and sent to the Senate for consideration. 
        • Senate Bill 1400, sponsored by Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill), would eliminate 
            property taxes and replace those funds with revenue generated through an 
            increase in the state personal income tax and an expansion of the state sales 
            tax. The proposal has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Simmons reminded committee members that bringing local public school spending under control has to be part of the equation. He pointed to the need to provide school districts with some funding relief in regard to state-mandated programs.

“The only way you are ever going to get any tax under control is to control spending,” said Simmons. “We do know there are state mandates we can help our school districts with by getting rid of them. We need to keep in mind that each of us represents the taxpayers and not a special interest group.”

In other action, committee members unanimously elected Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery) as chairman and Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery) as vice chairman.

The select committee is expected to meet again in September.

For more information on Simmons and his legislative priorities, visit www.RepSimmons.com or www.Facebook.com/RepSimmons.

State Representative Justin Simmons
131st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs
abriggs@pahousegop.com
717.260.6474
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