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Act 1 tax issue to be topic of informational meeting

March 23, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Richard Rose took it upon himself to learn about Pennsylvania's Act 1 of 2006 and soon was reading newspapers, researching on the Internet, reading the full text of the law and reviewing a copy of material from his local tax study commission.

Rose, a resident of West Fifth Street in Waynesboro, knows how he will vote May 15 when a ballot question asks whether he favors raising the earned income tax seven-tenths of a percent in exchange for a property tax reduction.

He fears other residents might be less educated about the law and interpret the ballot question as only pertaining to a hike in the income tax.

"I don't think the people around here, the ones I talk to, understand what it is," Rose said.

Rose blamed the public's misconceptions on a widespread lack of information, especially from unbiased sources. He encouraged residents to learn more about the law.

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They will be given the opportunity to do that at a workshop scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in the Franklin County Administrative Annex on Second Street in Chambersburg, Pa.

The workshop, which is free and does not require reservations, will be hosted by the Penn State Cooperative Extension and conducted by Tim Kelsey, a Penn State University professor of agricultural economics.

"I don't care at the end of the program whether people love the act or hate the act" as long as they understand it, Kelsey said.

He plans to talk about why tax reform is a big issue right now, what the law is and how components of Act 1 affect people. Questions will be welcomed.

Voters across Pennsylvania will be faced with an Act 1 referendum ballot question in May. The questions vary by school district, but many - like that in the Waynesboro Area School District - will ask if the voter wants to make changes to the earned or personal income tax in favor of a property tax reduction.

Unless the law changes, the voters' decision in May will stand until at least November 2009.

"Act 1 places an enormous responsibility on voters," Kelsey said. "There are some important questions people need to know more about."

Kelsey said he believes the public will begin seeking more information about Act 1 leading up to the primary.

"There hasn't been a lot of public education other than the local tax study commissions," Kelsey said.

For more information about the workshop, contact Judy Chambers at 717-334-6271 or jrc355@psu.edu.




If you go...



What: "School Tax Change Under Act 1"

When: Thursday, April 5, 7 to 9 p.m.

Where: Franklin County Administrative Annex, 218 N. Second St., Chambersburg, Pa.

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