Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rafferty bill would require school board 'super majority' to raise taxes

The Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee has approved legislation sponsored by Sen. John C. Rafferty, Jr., R-44th Dist., that would require a "super majority" vote for school boards to raise property taxes.

From a press release issued by Rafferty's office:
Senate Bill 553 would amend the Public School Code to require all millage property tax increases to be approved by a two-thirds majority vote by the members elected to the board of school directors.

"Taxpayers are rightfully concerned that property taxes continue to increase, as does school spending," Rafferty said. "Many tax increases are being passed by a single vote. I believe there should be a compelling need and strong support by the board before property taxes go up."

Rafferty said his legislation would provide greater taxpayer protections and ensure that school boards of directors first seek to control spending before raising taxes.

"Taxpayers have repeatedly told us that they want a stronger say in taxing decisions," Rafferty said. "My bill will provide an added protection against tax increases because it will raise the bar when it comes to voting for an increase."

"This is an important move to rein in property tax increase and control spending," Rafferty added.
School boards in Pennsylvania have nine voting members, so at least six would have to support a property tax hike under Rafferty's bill.

Anything that makes it harder for school boards to raise taxes is a step in the right direction, but nothing short of the total elimination of school property taxes will solve Pennsylvania's school funding problems.

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