Pennsylvania's Republican lawmakers this week said they'd like to reduce property taxes during their 1997 session. But agreement on just how to do that seems far off, and we hope they heed the counsel of Majority Leader John Perzel, who says that without a clear plan for how municipalities and school districts would make up for lost property-tax revenue, voters will reject the whole idea.
The first step in property-tax cut initiative is to pass the so-called "homestead exemption" to the state constitution, so that homes can be taxed at a lower property-tax rate than business and commercial property. That's the easy part.
Figuring out how to make up for that lost tax revenue will be more difficult because, as we warned last year, different citizen groups have conflicting interests. Elderly people on fixed incomes don't want to be taxed out of their homes, while younger married couples with children (who may be living in rental housing) wouldn't want to pay higher income taxes.