Candidate Henry Takes Aim At School Property Tax

October 17, 2018 GMT

WILKES-BARRE — Sue Henry, the Republican nominee for the 121st state House District, says House/Senate Bill 76 is about making more pay to fund schools.

The proposed legislation would eliminate all school property taxes in the state and replace that revenue with a combination of funds from increases to the personal income tax and the sales and use tax.

“I believe more people than the homeowners should be paying for the school system. It’s that simple,” Henry said Tuesday, explaining why she backs the legislation during an interview with The Citizens’ Voice editorial board.

She said the current system, in which local school districts rely on the property tax as their primary source of local revenue, is “chasing people out of their homes. It’s “archaic” because it began when farming was the main use of land in Pennsylvania, she said.

“In this era that we live in, we have too few paying too much for schools,” Henry said. “We should make this fair for everybody.”

Henry’s Democratic opponent is state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-121, Wilkes-Barre. He opposes House/Senate Bill 76.

“I would love to eliminate the school property tax, but the way to fill the $14 billion hole compounds the problem for every working family in my district,” Pashinski said during a phone interview while in Harrisburg. “The only way you fill the hole is by raising personal income tax and sales tax.”

Pashinski said he has supported legislation that would eliminate property taxes for 270,000 senior citizens, while slightly increasing the state income tax. House/Senate Bill 76 has been “used as a political ploy to sound good for elections,” Pashinski said.

“So from 2011 to 2014 when (Tom) Corbett was governor and the Republicans totally owned Harrisburg, they never brought it up,” Pashinski said.

House/Senate Bill 76 would increase the sales and use tax by 1 percentage point and broaden the base of the state sales tax to include more services and products. It also would increase the state’s personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 4.95 percent.

Pashinski said the proposed legislation is “a $3 billion gift” to Walmart, Kmart and other corporate landowners.

When asked about House/Senate Bill 76 benefiting corporate landowners, Henry replied, “Pennsylvania’s sluggish attraction of corporations is embarrassing. If this was done, we might actually be able to attract business and industry to come to Pennsylvania.”

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