Pennsylvania continues to look for ways to lower property taxes

When it comes to property taxes, Pennsylvania falls within the top third of states with the highest rates in the country.

According to a report published by personal finance website WalletHub, a Pennsylvania homeowner will pay 1.58% in property taxes on a median-priced home of $180,200 – or $2,852.

That is $482 more than the national average, placing Pennsylvania at 41st highest in the country for property taxes.

WalletHub analyzed all 50 states and the District of Columbia using U.S. Census data, dividing the median real estate tax payment by the median home price in each state.

Property taxes in Pennsylvania have long been a bone of contention for state legislators over the years, as one of the biggest funders of the state’s educational system.

Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill, said that outside of amending the state constitution, any plan the Legislature puts forward will need 102 votes in the House and 26 votes in Senate along with the signature of the governor.

Argall said in the past Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated that he is against full elimination of the state property tax.

“We came close in 2015 when elimination was brought up for a vote in the Senate,” he said. “But the Lieutenant Governor voted against the tied 24-24 bill, which effectively killed it.”

This session, Argall is co-sponsoring a constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. John DiSanto to eliminate school property taxes.

“If the Legislature passes the bill in two consecutive sessions and it is approved by the voters via referendum vote, then it would force the Legislature and the governor to establish a fairer and more equitable way to fund our schools,” Argall said.

WalletHub contributor Stephanie Leiser, a lecturer at University of Michigan’s Ford School in Public Policy, said people should definitely consider property taxes when they move.

“Every family will have different preferences about whether they want to live in a community with more or fewer services, and they should consider the “value for the dollar” they would get from paying property taxes,” she said on WalletHub. “… It’s also important to keep the overall tax picture in mind when deciding where to move. Low property taxes may sound great, but they may be offset by higher local sales taxes or other taxes and fees.”

She warns renters should be aware of local taxes and services as landlords will pass along those expenses into their rent payments.

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