Standardize tax collection
One of the many downfalls of Pennsylvania having too many units of local government is needlessly convoluted and redundant tax collection. Millions of dollars that could go to services or back to taxpayers go instead to the cost of collection.
The state government partially resolved that nine years ago by consolidating local wage tax collection, reducing the number of collectors statewide from more than 500 to just 69 in districts based mostly on 67 county borders with consideration for overlapping school districts. That has saved millions of dollars a year.
Last week Gov. Tom Wolf signed a new law designed to fully standardize wage tax collection statewide, which will create uniform procedures and standards while helping many taxpayers by eliminating the prospect of double taxation where some municipal and school district jurisdictions overlap.
Unfortunately, the state government has not yet extended that uniformity to property tax collection, which remains subject to a wide array of money-wasting redundancy across the state.
In the computer age there is no need for the redundancy and excessive costs inherent in hyper-local property tax collection.
Lawmakers should draw on the experience of less costly wage tax collection and apply it to property tax collection.