Saylor says education funding formula makes property tax reform hard

State Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township, has an op-ed about why property tax reform is hard to achieve in Pennsylvania:

The biggest obstacle to reforming property taxes is the 20-year-old funding “formula” in the state Education Code which states that no school district can receive less state funding than the year before and does not reflect current school district student populations because it is based on census results from 1991.

Because of the formula, counties which have rapidly growing school districts receive far less funding than they need to accommodate their large student populations. In contrast, the formula grants more money than needed to counties with school districts where student populations are declining or static.

So, residents and lawmakers in school districts with flat or even declining growth are happy with the funding formula and their low property taxes and do not want to change. Unfortunately for us, the number of lawmakers happy with the status quo constitutes the majority on the issue of property tax reform.

Saylor is the state House majority whip.

So what do you think? Should property tax reform be a priority? And should the funding formula be changed?

About Ed Mahon

County government and politics reporter at York Daily Record/Sunday News.
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9 Responses to Saylor says education funding formula makes property tax reform hard

  1. Wayne says:

    All Saylor can do is make excuses why School Property can not be eliminated!
    He says it is his top priority to fix this terrible problem for homeowners are are losing their homes because of school taxes. WHAT has he done over the last 10 years to permanently fix this? NOTHING! We hear nothing but more excuses and he tries to push some PHONY bill that will NOT eliminate school property taxes that homeowners pay! Major fail for the Republicans who control the House, Senate and the Governors office!!
    Everyone has excuses but no one will do anything about!!
    If their mouth is moving they are lying@!!

    • Keyser Soze says:

      Wayne, do enjoy placing your considerable ignorance and simplistic mind on display?

      It takes 102 votes to pass something.

      How about the Senate even moving one bill?

      Nope, that didn’t happen.

      How about some leadership from the Administration on the issue?

      Nope, that didn’t and won’t happen.

      Maybe you and your whiny tax reform buddies put some pressure on the members who have no interest in passing tax reform because their districts have low property taxes?

      That’s what is really stopping any reform, but since you can’t muster such pressure, you cast misguided aspersions on those who are actually trying to do something. People like yourself are more of the problem than anyone else.

  2. Wayne says:

    Funny stuff………. A made up name and just MORE EXCUSES! Come on you can do better than that? I will be sure to pass this on to all the “whiny tax reform buddies” I am sure they will appreciate your name calling!
    Talk about misguided aspersions………………………………….

    • Keyser Soze says:

      You didn’t respond to a single one of my (accurate) points.

      And, it isn’t “name calling” when it is a perfect description of your antics.

  3. Wayne says:

    FROM PTCA:

    “PCTA,

    FYI. The new session hasn’t even begun and they’re already on the attack. My Facebook post:

    “More political property tax excuses from Wednesday’s (12/26) York Daily Record: http://www.ydr.com/letters/ci_22261484/stan-saylor-why-property-tax-reform-is-hard

    My first question, Representative Saylor: You state that “I am a co-sponsor of HB 1776, I have voted for HB 1776, and would do so again.” That’s all well and good, but what have you done as a member of the House majority leadership to VIGOROUSLY encourage your colleagues to support HB 1776? If you are so committed to HB 1776, why are you proudly standing with Rep. Seth Grove at a Hanover Chamber of Commerce meeting on December 14 where he announced his worthless, politically-motivated plan to “provide local tax diversification to drive down property taxes?” Words are cheap; real, courageous action is not.

    We are highly offended by your attack on our grassroots effort. Quote: “In the same vein, taxpayer groups that are not willing to be open to other legislative measures that could accomplish property tax reform and garner the votes necessary for passage are doing the effort to fix our property tax problem a disservice.”

    No, WE ARE NOT AND WILL NOT BE open to more valueless trash like local tax shifts and constitutional amendments that only serve to delay a real solution and have questionable chances of success. We will no longer be patient while the General Assembly again attempts to deceive the taxpayers with these useless promises of property tax “relief.” When will you learn that is not about “relief” – a vague, unattainable, and ultimately unsuccessful concept – but about permanently fixing a broken, antiquated public education finance system?

    If this is your opening salvo for the new legislative session, have at it. Attack us and our efforts if you feel the need. But be aware: We have had enough! We were partners in the crafting of HB 1776; it is OUR legislation and we will passionately defend it, work for its passage, and will resolutely oppose any lesser measure. We WILL make our voices heard and if you and your colleagues are wise you will heed our message and abandon your contemptible political schemes.”

    Feel free to forward this to your members if you wish.

    David”

  4. Fran says:

    The time has come for property tax elimination .. not reform … elimination. The sales tax is the most fair and equitable way to distribute the burden for our constitutional obligation to “maintain and support a public system of education.”

    whiners? The real “whiners” in this whole debaucle are the ineffective perpetual incumbent legislators who can’t get anything done to reform this onerous and inequitable system, including the “funding formula.” HB 1776 is a good bill. It deserves to be put up for a vote.

    If legislators like Saylor really supported this bill, they would be working with legislators from these “low property tax” areas to convince them that HB 1776 is the right, and constitutional, thing to do. But now, it seems their frustration is directed at the private citizens who have been working tirelessly, and without compensation, for years on this effort instead of at their fellow legislators who are keeping this from being passed. He could be using the power of his office to promote and advertise and “whip up” support for this legislation. Instead all we get is, “well, I’ll vote for it, but I really don’t think it will work.” That’s not leadership.

  5. Keyser Soze says:

    “make your voices heard”

    Hah! By who? People who are already committed to voting for HB1776?

    Unless your group can generate pressure from voters in the districts of lawmakers who oppose property tax reform sufficient enough to change their “no” to a “yes,” then you do not have the power to “make your voices heard” or much of anything else.

    Even if that happens, I still don’t see how you generate the votes to make it pass a Senate that isn’t interested in doing much of anything.

  6. Wayne says:

    A great letter to the editor at YDR:

    Saylor must lead on tax reform
    Updated: 01/22/2013 12:12:36 PM EST

    “Rep. Stan Saylor’s guest column concerning property tax reform (Viewpoints, Dec. 30) is another sad excuse for the failure to lessen the tax burden for homeowners. He writes that he is an original co-sponsor of House Bill 1776, which would totally eliminate property taxes. He further claims to have voted for HB 1776 and “would do it again.” This bill has never reached the House floor; the Finance committee voted for it, yet Saylor is not a member of this committee.

    For too many years, we have been told that property tax reform is the top priority. We were told that Rendell and the Democrats were holding up reform. In 2010, when Republicans gained control of state government, Rep. Saylor wrote that tax reform will have a vote during the term and with a Republican majority, “we will deliver.” It’s interesting when candidate Saylor and his supporters want our vote, we are told that his seniority and leadership in the House will get results. However, when difficult legislation, i.e. tax reform, comes up, Majority Whip Saylor and his supporters use the same tired excuse, “I’m only one vote.”

    As a representative from York County , he has a responsibility to his district. As the third most powerful majority legislator in the House, he has a duty to pass statewide tax reform. As another publication stated,” “It’s time for Stan to Deliver.” To quote one of Rep. Saylor’s previous campaign slogans, “Either lead or get out of the way.”

    DALE M. MCPHERSON
    STEWARTSTOWN

  7. Wayne says:

    Dale is on a roll!

    “Double talk on property tax bill”
    Letter to the Editor
    Updated: 01/28/2013 02:55:07 PM EST

    “Let me see if I have this right. House Majority Whip Stan Saylor says that tax reform remains his constant priority. Even though he didn’t vote for HB 1776 (elimination of property taxes), his assertion that he really did vote for it is technically correct because he voted for a similar bill (different bill and different sponsor) in 2006 with some change in verbiage.

    Only a career politician could come up with that defense.

    Gov. Corbett has stated that property taxes will not be the main thrust in this legislative session; it will be pension reform. Wait a minute. Since Rep Saylor is bringing up votes from yesteryear, didn’t he vote to increase pension payouts to state employees (and his own) in 2001? Are not increased pension costs required by school systems one of the reasons for high property taxes? Just wondering.”
    DALE M. MCPHERSON
    STEWARTSTOWN

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