Reform failure disappoints Birmelin

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:06

    To the editor: I was greatly disappointed when, after two days of intense debate and dozens of votes on procedural motions and amendments on Nov. 21 and 22, it appeared that the reform proposal that I have supported, the Plan for Pennsylvania’s Future, was not going to be passed in the House of Representatives. This plan proposed to completely eliminate all school property taxes in Pennsylvania and change the funding of our public school system to a broadened sales and use tax at a rate lower than the current 6%. I want to publicly thank all who supported this plan and encourage them to continue the push for change as started by this initiative. While it is obvious that this plan did not garner enough support in the House, I remain committed to providing substantive property tax relief and will be supportive of other legislation that achieves that goal. We have a fundamental problem that needs to be solved. Property taxes are not based on one’s ability to pay and there is no control by the owner as to the amount owed. Particularly hard hit are those in low and fixed income brackets. Had the broadened sales and use tax gone into effect, the owner would have been able to control the amount of tax paid through discretionary spending. The special session on property taxes will continue in the weeks ahead and hopefully, the General Assembly will produce a meaningful package of laws that will head us in the right direction. I will be doing what I can to make that happen. State Rep. Jerry Birmelin, R-Pike-Wayne