Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Property taxes could be this year's pay raise fiasco

Republican lawmakers gathered at the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday to put some pressure on House Democrats to resume the property tax reform debate.

If Pennsylvania taxpayers don't get property tax relief this year, the blame can be placed squarely on the shoulders of House Democrats who hold a 1-vote majority in the 203-member House.

Democrats are holding several bills hostage in the Democratically-controlled House Finance Committee, according to the GOP.

Republicans charge that the Democratic leadership has moved the property tax debate to the back burner after promising constituents that property taxes would be a priority in 2008.

Rep. John Perzel, R-Philadelphia, wants a vote on his plan to eliminate property taxes for all Pennsylvania residents 65 and over who make less than $40,000.

"What happened to this being the No. 1 issue of the Democrat party?" Perzel said during a press conference Tuesday.

His amendment to House Bill 1600 overwhelmingly passed the House last week, but the bill was intended to replace the Democrats' version of HB1600, which is another tax-shift scheme.

Majority Leader Bill DeWeese said Monday that Democrats are attempting to find a compromise on property taxes in the Finance Committee.

That's unlikely to happen as long as the Finance Committee is chaired by David Levdansky, who couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat.

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