Committee Approves Martin’s Property Tax Collection Reform Bill

HARRISBURG – Legislation that would give many counties, municipalities and school districts more options to collect property taxes was approved by the Senate Local Government Committee today.

Senate Bill 1099, sponsored by Acting Committee Chairman Senator Scott Martin (R-13), would give local governing bodies more options to efficiently implement property tax collection at reduced costs, with the least amount of bureaucracy, while implementing protections for taxpayers.   The measure would also allow school districts to collect their own property taxes without having to enter into any special costly agreements, as has been the case with school districts in Lancaster County and across the Commonwealth.

“Schools and local governments should be empowered to choose the most efficient and effective means of collecting taxes and serving taxpayers, but local governing bodies don’t have many options available to them under current law,” Martin said. “My bill would help many schools and municipalities avoid a duplication of services and cut through layers of red tape that only increase costs to taxpayers.”

The committee gathered testimony on the issue from various stakeholders during a public hearing earlier this week. County elected officials and school business officials voiced support for the bill and pointed out examples in which elected tax collectors failed to do their jobs, creating serious consequences for many taxpayers.

“Many local tax collectors do a fine job on behalf of taxpayers, but we have seen several unfortunate cases in which unnecessary layers of bureaucracy have created confusion and increased costs for taxpayers, and other cases in which elected tax collectors have failed to do their jobs at all,” Martin said. “We need to make sure local governing bodies can find ways to cut through the red tape and deliver services like tax collection without unnecessary costs or headaches for taxpayers.”

Martin stressed that the legislation would not mandate the elimination of the Tax Collector in any county, municipality or school district – especially in areas where the local elected tax collector is meeting the needs of taxpayers. It would only offer governing bodies the option to eliminate the position if those entities believe they can collect property taxes more efficiently and effectively.

Senate Bill 1099 was sent to the full Senate for consideration.

CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535

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