Editorial - Time to pay attention
Just 25 percent of Pennsylvania's eligible voters went to the polls Tuesday, but those who did managed to approve an initiative that will eventually lead to lower property taxes for homeowners. To prevent any unpleasant surprises, we recommend citizens who haven't paid attention up until now start educating themselves on this issue.
Here's the short version of what's happening: State officials who wanted to give a tax break to homeowners, particularly senior citizens on fixed incomes, were prohibited from doing so by the state constitution. And so they designed an amendment to provide a so-called "homestead exemption" that would allow business property to be taxed at a higher rate than owner-occupied dwellings.
Even then, officials figured, there would be a revenue shortfall, since there are more residential buildings than commercial/industrial properties. To cover that revenue loss, the state legislature would give local governments the power to impose a sales or personal-income tax.