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Waynesboro tax commission recommends tax shift

December 13, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro Area School District residents might face a shift in taxes next year if the recommendation of its local tax study commission goes to the ballot.

The Act 1 tax study commission for Waynesboro recommended Tuesday that the district raise its earned income tax from .5 percent to 1.2 percent in the 2007-08 school year to fund a $309 homestead exclusion for qualified homes and farms.

Tax study commission chairman Terry Eisenhauer said the commission recommended the lowest possible homestead exclusion for the district which it chose to offset with a .7 percent increase in earned income tax rates.

"Under Act 1, the commission had to make a recommendation to lower real estate taxes," he explained. Eisenhauer said the commission also had to find a way to "fund" the difference by raising income-based taxes.

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In its report, the tax study commission said that it suggested a .7 percent increase, in part, to keep in line with neighboring school districts. "The commission felt strongly that there should be continuity with other school districts in our area," the commission stated in the report.

Eisenhauer said the surrounding school districts in Franklin County have all recommended the minimum exclusion.

When Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signed Act 1 into law in June 2006, it came with promises of property tax relief offset by a combination of state gaming revenue and a shift to income-based tax revenue, but not everyone in the district will benefit from a tax shift.

Eisenhauer said only those qualified homeowners who make less than $44,000 per year and individuals who do not have an earned income will benefit from the shift in taxes recommended by the commission. Those who rent, make more than $44,000 per year, or do not own their home will be "negatively affected by this," he said.

The recommendation made Tuesday was not what the commission would "ideally" have made, Eisenhauer said.

"It would have been nice to have the option to leave things as they are," he said. "But it is voters who have that option."

Larry Glenn, president of the Waynesboro Area School Board, said the board will vote on the recommendation in January. At that time, he said the board will draft a referendum to be placed on the ballot in May 2007, as required by Act 1.




How area districts compare on their Act 1 tax study recommendations:

Waynesboro Area

Earned income tax increase:

2006-07: 0.5 percent
2007-08: 1.2 percent
total: 0.7 percent

Greencastle-Antrim

Earned income tax increase:

2006-07: 0.5 percent
2007-08: 1.1 percent
Total: 0.6 percent

Chambersburg Area

Earned income tax increase

2006-07: 0.5 percent
2007-08: 1.2 percent
Total: 0.7 percent

Tuscarora School District

Earned income tax increase

2006-07: 0.5 percent
2007-08: 1.3 percent
Total: 0.8 percent

Source: School districts

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