Scavello: Constitutional Amendment Targeting Residential School Property Taxes via Homestead Exclusion receives Historic Vote

Harrisburg — Senator Mario Scavello (R-40) said today’s Senate passage of a proposed Constitutional amendment was a historic vote and moves the Commonwealth one step closer to eliminating residential school property taxes through homestead exclusion authority.

Currently, the Pennsylvania Constitution allows local taxing authorities to exclude from taxation up to 50 percent of the median assessed value of homestead property within the taxing district. House Bill 1285 would increase the allowable exclusion to 100 percent. If adopted by the voters, it would allow for the elimination of school property taxes on owner-occupied residential properties.

“Passage of House Bill 1285 takes the state constitution’s existing property tax relief provision and builds on it to allow for the complete elimination of owner-occupied residential property taxes through the homestead exclusion. This legislation is an added tool to allow school property tax elimination to be directed at residential properties, making home ownership more affordable, and most importantly, protecting individuals in danger of losing their homes,” said Scavello.

“I will continue to fight and remain committed to the overall goal of full property tax elimination with passage of Senate Bill 76. However, after two unsuccessful votes, in the case that Senate Bill 76 does not continue to garner the necessary support, we must have other alternatives that provide relief to owner occupied residential properties,”Scavello said.

In order for a constitutional amendment to be enacted, it must be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions and approved by the voters.  House Bill 147 was approved by the Legislature last year, and House Bill 1285 has now been approved. This historic legislation will now go to the voters to decide.

“We can all agree that any tax that would take a person’s home after working their entire life to pay for it is wrong and immoral. No individual should have to choose between paying for prescription medications, taking care of their health and paying for property taxes,” said Scavello. “People should be able to own their property and enactment of this constitutional amendment will protect and safeguard that constitutional right.”

As general election day 2017 nears, Senator Scavello will send reminders of the importance of voting on this measure.

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CONTACT: Christine Zubeck (717) 787-6123