BROOKLINE, April 2, 2012 – As a response to the countless number of individuals who have demanded a solution to Allegheny County’s unfair tax system, State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana introduced legislation today that would do away with the controversial property reassessments by enabling the county council or citizens to eliminate property taxes.
Under Senate Bill 1462, the county and each municipality and school district within the county would have the flexibility to replace the property tax with other taxing options, including an earned income and net profits tax, income tax, sales and use tax, real property fee (per square foot), and any other tax authorized under the Local Tax Enabling Act.
In the first year, however, government leaders could not increase taxes beyond what property taxes would have generated.
“Based on the current situation in Allegheny County, few would argue that property taxes are onerous, unfair and can literally tax people out of their homes,” Fontana said. “My bill would give Allegheny County the means and flexibility to shift the property tax burden to a different mix of taxing options that are more equitable and better suited to local taxpayers.”
By limiting his legislation to Allegheny County, Fontana said his proposal has a better chance of winning approval in the state legislature.
According to Fontana, county council would need to enact the necessary tax shift ordinance a year in advance to eliminate property taxes. If council refuses to act, citizens could propose such an ordinance through public referendum.
The Brookline lawmaker has fought to reform Allegheny County’s property tax system throughout his legislative career. He most recently introduced Senate Bill 1280, which calls for a moratorium on court-ordered reassessments until the General Assembly and governor enact legislation that makes the property tax system uniform for all counties. The measure is currently under consideration in the Senate Finance Committee.
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