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Senator Judy Schwank explains the Homestead Exclusion Referendum Issue

Sep 15, 2017 • by City of Reading 'Council Corner' Newsletter
Senator Judy Schwank

From Senator Judy Schwank:

There is a lot happening in Harrisburg these days. Budget negotiations are ongoing and I am actively working with my colleagues in the Senate to finally enact a responsible budget.

Homestead Exclusion Amendment

In the meantime, a proposal is in the works to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to enable local taxing jurisdictions to double their homestead exclusion from 50 to 100 percent of the assessed value of one’s property. Right now, taxing jurisdictions (counties, municipalities, school districts) can authorize a tax exemption of up to 50 percent of a property’s median assessed value.

For the Homestead Exclusion Amendment to happen, a bill must win approval by the Pennsylvania House and Senate in two consecutive sessions and be approved by voters via referendum.

The amendment bill, House Bill 147, passed last session and has gotten second approval in this session in the form of House Bill 1285, which contains the same language, so it will now go to a voter referendum. This means you’ll see a question about it on ballots this fall.

I should note that the Homestead Exclusion Amendment is a separate matter from legislation I have worked on to eliminate school property taxes. The exclusion amendment provides local taxing bodies the option to choose an increased exclusion for taxation which they would have to find from other sources. 

I feel addressing the billions of dollars associated with school property taxes will require legislation, like SB 76, which is why I will continue to advocate for and support school property tax elimination.

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