The 2015-2016 school year budget was one for the record books, with a budget passage that was nine months late, but current signs from Harrisburg indicate those budget blues will pale in comparison to the proposed budget busting property tax reform bill. Although there is no definite date or legislation on the docket now, multiple reports state that Senator Argall’s property tax reform bill is planned to be re-introduced in this session.
Succinctly put, this legislation replaces property tax with increased income tax and sales tax. The new taxes would be collected at the state level and districts would receive nearly all of their funding from the state. Property tax collection would cease this July 1, 2017, and our 2017-2018 funding would then come from the yet-to-be collected sales and income taxes.
Indicators are strong enough on this legislation that PASBO has advised business managers to prepare two 2017-2018 budgets; one with property tax revenue and one without. Such a dramatic change to funding sources is clearly a significant concern to many school officials, and we will keep you posted on developments. We’ve also included a more detailed look at the proposal in the news section.