| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:57

    To the editor: In the 2007 primary election school boards in the state will be required to submit a referendum question to the voters of their district pertaining to Act I. Act I presents itself as tax relief in the form of property tax reduction. Before you pull a lever in support of Act I, be well advised to its true nature and the implications it would have for the taxpayers of the district. Portrayal as tax relief through property tax reduction would certainly pique the interest of homeowners who shoulder the local property tax burden. It will increase the homeowners/ farmstead exclusion. Certainly welcome news! Relief! Reduction! Any presentation of Act I in this light as specious and misleading. Act I is neither tax reduction nor relief, it is a tax shift to be funded by a local tax levied in the form of an earned income tax or personal income tax. Tax shift is a descriptive moniker in this case as it will require the taxpayer to shift their wallets to the other pocket and write the check left handed. This will enable us to accept the increased homestead exclusion with our right hands while paying for it all with our left. In fact for almost 78% of the taxpayers in our school district it will require that you pay more in the local income tax than you currently pay in local property taxes. Increasing the homestead/ farmstead exclusion through local income tax which is not deductible on your federal return does nothing to ease the tax burden for the great majority of our district. A local income tax would require all homeowners with a combined household income of more than $35,000 to pay more than they are currently paying in property taxes. If Act I has any merit it is certainly not applicable to a district with our demographics. This is akin to purchasing an item on sale at 20% off contingent upon paying an “on sale” tax of 25%. You may hear debate regarding the relative merits of an income tax being collected through an earned income tax or personal income tax. Each school board has appointed a tax commission to make a recommendation (non-binding) to the school board as to which tax is better for the district. Do not spend an abundance of time on either as both are illusory and not viable options. Local income taxes are: • Not tax deductible. - Nebulous and without an established means of collection. • Not suited for our demographic- Approximately 78% will pay more). • Potentially financially debilitating to the school board. • A means to eroding real estate values and making your home unsellable. • Difficult to collect with so many people working out of state. Given the fact that almost 80% of the people in the district will pay more under a local income tax, presenting it as tax relief is unmitigated BULL. The fact that you are paying for your homestead exclusion (and more) by writing a check for local income taxes makes it a SHIFT not worth considering. On the ballet for the 2007 primary when you are offered a choice, choose to tell Harrisburg to pedal this bullshift somewhere else and keep the local property tax in place. Peter Wulfhorst, Chairman, Tax Study Commission Delaware Valley School District