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SPECIAL BALLOT ALERT


Voters Will Decide On Proposed Constitutional Amendment To Expand Homestead Exclusion

With the November 7th election fast-approaching, I wanted to share some information regarding the proposed constitutional amendment on property taxes that will appear on the ballot. Currently, the state Constitution allows up to “one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead property within the taxing district” to be exempt from taxation. On Tuesday, Pennsylvania voters will be asked whether the homestead exclusion should be expanded.

The question states:

“Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to permit the General Assembly to enact legislation authorizing local taxing authorities to exclude from taxation up to 100 percent of the assessed value of each homestead property within a local taxing jurisdiction, rather than limit the exclusion to one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead property, which is the existing law?”

If approved, it would permit the General Assembly to pass a law authorizing local taxing authorities to increase the amount of assessed value of homestead property that may be excluded when determining the real estate tax owed. Under the current language in the state Constitution, the House and Senate are not permitted to consider such a change, limited only to homeowners.

The proposed amendment contains two significant modifications. First, the amount of the homestead property that may be exempt from local property taxes would increase. Second, relief would be based on the value of an individual property, rather than an average of all properties in a taxing jurisdiction.

The issue of school property tax reform has been a hot topic across Pennsylvania for decades. Many different property tax changes have been considered, ranging from elimination of school property taxes for all, to more limited relief targeted to seniors. The ballot referendum itself does not mean property taxes would disappear. For most residents, property tax relief through the expanded homestead exemption depends on future legislative action to provide local taxing authorities with alternative revenue sources. However, the constitutional change could improve the chances for such action taking place.
 


Offices of Senator Lisa Baker


Harrisburg Office
362 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-7428
FAX: 717-787-9242
M-F: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM


Western District Office

22 Dallas Shopping Center
Memorial Highway
Dallas, PA 18612
Phone: 570-675-3931
FAX: 570-674-5037
M-F: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM


Eastern District Office

2512 Route 6
Hawley, PA 18428
Phone: 570-226-5960
FAX: 570-226-5964
M-F: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM