Uncertainty swirls around Pa. property tax amendment that will soon go before voters
On Nov. 7, Pennsylvanians will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that could lead to lower property taxes and radically remake how the state pays for its schools.
Or the amendment could pass and change nothing.
It’s an odd set of possibilities: The proposed amendment might have drastic consequences, but it is so laden with what-ifs that even political insiders and policy wonks don’t yet know what to make of it.
“We don’t have a really strong position on this because we could see good things coming out of it and we could see bad things coming out of it,” said Marc Stier, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a liberal-leaning think tank.
In the big picture, the amendment would give legislators unprecedented leeway to reduce or eliminate property taxes. The amendment does not, however, compel legislators to do anything. State lawmakers would have to pass a new law — or set of laws — to take advantage of the possibilities opened up by the proposed amendment.
And it’s unclear what those proposals would be.
Crucially, the amendment would allow lawmakers to make a distinction between residential and commercial properties.