Monday, April 27, 2009

Argall backs referendum on property taxes

The newest member of the Pennsylvania Senate wants to give Pennsylvania voters an opportunity to have a say on property taxes.

Property tax reform has been debated the Legislature for more than 30 years without any results. Efforts to eliminate property taxes have stalled in both the House and Senate, with legislative leaders reluctant to change the current system of funding public education.

Sen. David Argall, R-29th Dist., wants to give taxpayers a chance to tell lawmakers exactly what they want done with property taxes.

Senate Bill 818 and House Bill 637 would allow voters to decide between the current property tax system and the three most popular property tax replacement proposals in the General Assembly, based on the number of co-sponsors for legislation in the House and Senate, Argall said at a press conference Monday.

The property tax proposals would be placed on the November ballot. Voters would then be given the opportunity to choose between the three proposals or leave the current property tax structure intact, Argall said.

"I have introduced legislation that would allow voters to bring real property tax reform, through the touch of a button in the voting booth in November," Argall said.

While the referendum is non-binding, it should show legislators who have consistently opposed property tax reform that most Pennsylvanians support some form of property tax relief, said Rep. Tom Quigley, R-146th Dist., who is a co-sponsor of Argall’s bill in the state House.

Co-sponsors of Argall's legislation in the Senate include: Sens. John Rafferty, Michael Waugh, Michael Brubaker, Kim Ward, Richard Alloway and Rob Wonderling.

Co-sponsors in the House include: Reps. Matthew Baker, Robert Belfanti, Kerry Benninghoff, Karen Beyer, Paul Clymer, Thomas Creighton, Garth Everett, Richard Geist, Jaret Gibbons, Keith Gillespie, Mauree Gingrich, Robert Godshall, Neal Goodman, Seth Grove, Sue Helm, Tim Hennessey, David Hickernell, Scott Hutchinson, Rob Kauffman, Mark Keller, Sandra Major, Bob Mensch, David Millard, Thomas Murt, Donna Oberlander, Scott Perry, Jeffrey Pyle, Tom Quigley, Mario Scavello, John Siptroth, Timothy Solobay, Curt Sonney, Rosemarie Swanger, W. Curtis Thomas and Randy Vulakovich.

Argall is the newest member of the state Senate, which has a 30-20 Republican majority. Argall, who spent 24 years in the House, was elected in March to fill the Senate seat formerly held by the late James J. Rhoades.

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