Simmons Supports New Law Giving Citizens a ‘Say’ In Property Tax Increases

State Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Northampton) voted Thursday to support Senate Bill 330, which requires school districts to seek voter approval for tax increases that outpace inflation.  A few hours later, Gov. Tom Corbett signed the reform measure into law. 

“This important piece of legislation empowers the taxpayer to make important decisions about their local school district funding,” said Simmons.  “There is perhaps no bigger issue in our Commonwealth today than that of out-of-control school property taxes.” 

The new law removes all but three exceptions specified in Special Session Act 1 of 2006, which allows school districts to increase property taxes above the state-set index without seeking voter approval. Those three exceptions are special education costs, pensions and certain forms of long-term debt. 

“Voters sent a message last November that no longer will the same special interest groups that have dominated this Capitol for so long have the only say in the legislative process,” said Simmons.  “I have to be absolutely honest:  I wish there were no exceptions in this bill, but I believe this is the best vehicle, at this time that we can get passed for our taxpayers.” 

Act No. 25 of 2011, as it is now called, takes effect in 60 days.

You can hear my remarks on Act No. 25 of 2011 here

State Representative Justin Simmons
131st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Andy Briggs