Friday, January 18, 2008

PA House Republicans Looking to Increase Taxes on Individuals

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has once again taken up the issue of school real estate taxes. Debate will resume when House members return to session on Monday, January 28.

The central bill under consideration is House Bill 1600, sponsored by Representative David Levdansky (D-Allegheny). This legislation is intended to reduce school property taxes substantially without broadening the sales tax base; however, Representative Sam Rohrer (R-Berks) will offer an amendment to that bill which will expand the sales tax to professional services.

But, somewhat ironically in a bill intended to reduce the tax burden on individuals, Rohrer's bill will exempt businesses from the new tax on professional services. So, businesses that need to hire a lawyer, for example, will not have to pay the sales tax. But, everyone else, that is to say, you and me, who might need, say, a lawyer for criminal, divorce, custody, estate, personal real estate issues, etc., will be subject to payment of the sales tax. (Representative Rohrer's original piece of property tax reform legislation, upon which the amendments are based, is HB 1275.) (Oh, yeah, contingent fee (personal injury) cases are also excluded.

Taxpayer groups (umm, real-estate-tax-payers groups), are putting much pressure on House members to accept the Rohrer amendment. To contact your rep and voice a concern over this latest attempt to impose a penal regressive tax on the middle and lower classes, you can use the House email list.

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