In this letter to the editors of Blog-Lebo, Sue Dixon writes about a Pennsylvania Senate bill that would require school boards to make a two-thirds majority vote before raising property taxes. —TomSenate Bill Would Require “Super Majority” Vote to Raise School Property Taxes
I spoke to Senator Rafferty's office today and they said this bill was sent from the Education Committee to the Appropriations committee on June 29th, 2010. Since legislators are on recess until September 20th at 1:00 p.m., nothing is happening with this bill until they return. I have found that legislators are very easy to work with and you can make changes in how your government is run through legislation. If this bill doesn't move forward before the end of November it will be unable to move forward because this will be the end of the legislation cycle for this year.
Senator Rafferty's office said that a few school board members (Senator Rafferty’s office did not say which school district the school board members were from and they could be from anywhere in the state) have contacted them saying this bill would hold their budgets hostage and they wouldn’t be able to pass budgets.
Everyone in this state should be contacting their legislator and the Senators on the Appropriations Committee to share their opinions regarding Senate Bill 553 moving forward. I have provided the Press Release, the Bill in its entirety, and the contact information for all of the Senators on the Appropriations Committee.
For Immediate Release on June 8, 2010
Senate Education Committee Approves Rafferty Measure (Senate Bill 553) Requiring Super Majority Vote to Raise School Property Taxes
The Senate Education Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) that would require a "super majority" vote for school boards to raise taxes.
Senate Bill 553 would amend the Public School Code to require all millage property tax increases to be approved by a two-thirds majority vote by the members elected to the board of school directors.
"Taxpayers are rightfully concerned that property taxes continue to increase, as does school spending," Rafferty said. "Many tax increases are being passed by a single vote. I believe there should be a compelling need and strong support by the board before property taxes go up."
Rafferty said his legislation would provide greater taxpayer protections and ensure that school boards of directors first seek to control spending before raising taxes.
"Taxpayers have repeatedly told us that they want a stronger say in taxing decisions," he said. "My bill will provide an added protection against tax increases because it will raise the bar when it comes to voting for an increase."
"This is an important move to rein in property tax increase and control spending," Rafferty added.
The exact wording of this bill follows:
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL No. 553
Session of 2009
INTRODUCED BY RAFFERTY, FERLO, BROWNE, WASHINGTON, EARLL, WAUGH, WONDERLING AND BOSCOLA, MARCH 5, 2009
REFERRED TO EDUCATION, MARCH 5, 2009 - REREFERRED TO THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE, JUNE 29 2010
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An act relating to the public school system, including certain provisions applicable as well to private and parochial schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the laws relating thereto," in school finances, providing for millage rate increase. The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 602.1. Millage Rate Increase.--The millage rate of tax in effect in each school district on the effective date of this section shall not be increased in any succeeding year unless approved by a two-thirds majority vote by members elected to the board of school directors.
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
, ChairTomlinson, Robert M.
, Vice ChairCosta, Jay
, Minority ChairStack, Michael J.
, Minority Vice ChairPileggi, Dominic
, ex-officioMellow, Robert J.
, ex-officioScarnati, Joseph B., III
MajorityArgall, David G.Baker, LisaBrowne, Patrick M.Brubaker, MikeGordner, John R.Greenleaf, Stewart J.Pippy, JohnRafferty, John C., Jr.Smucker, Lloyd K.Vance, Patricia H.Waugh, Michael L.White, Mary Jo
MinorityBoscola, Lisa M.Farnese, Jr., Lawrence M.Logan, Sean Musto, Raphael J.Stout, J. BarryTartaglione, Christine M.Wozniak, John N.
Labels: John Rafferty, letter to the editor, mt lebanon school district, pennsylvania senate, property taxes, school board