State Representative Cox’s letter sheds light on school property tax legislative maneuvering

Dear Mr. Sorrick:

Thank you for your recent contact regarding the Property Tax Independence Act. I appreciate you contacting me on this issue that is so important to so many Pennsylvanians.

I understand how scheduling conflicts can occur and why you were not able to attend the Property Tax Rally that was held at the Capitol on September 24th. I was encouraged by those who were able to attend. I was honored to be able to address the crowd and let them know that a large part of the progress we have made is due to the grassroots effort that has been growing through people like yourselves.

Over the past two weeks there have been some things that took place in Harrisburg that I would like to explain briefly. House Bill 1189 (H.B. 1189) was voted out of committee and brought to the full House for a vote. This bill gives local school boards the ability to choose whether or not they would like to reduce or eliminate school district property taxes through one or more of the following taxes: a local earned income tax, a business privilege tax and/or a mercantile tax.

I and some of my colleagues did not feel that this was the best method to use in addressing a very serious school property tax issue. For that reason, I placed the language of House Bill 76 (H.B. 76) into amendment form and attached it to H.B. 1189. My goal was to get a vote on H.B. 76 in that manner since the Finance Committee has refused to bring it up for a vote. Unfortunately, the amendment failed by a vote of 138–59 and ultimately, H.B. 1189 passed and has been sent to the Senate.

Now is the time to focus on the Senate where the Property Tax Independence Act remains in the Senate Finance Committee as Senate Bill 76 (S.B. 76). At this point the Senate must decide how it wishes to address the issue of school property tax reform. Your senator needs to hear from you to let them know if you would like them to vote for or against H.B. 1189 and to encourage Senate leadership to consider S.B. 76 and move it out of the Senate Finance Committee.

Property tax elimination is still alive and I will continue to work to make it a reality in Pennsylvania. I will also continue to work with the sponsors in the Senate to help move S.B. 76 along in any way that I can.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to spread the word to others and I will continue to educate others in the legislature.

Sincerely,
Jim Cox
State Representative
129th District

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