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Barrar Bill to Protect Seniors from Property Tax Hikes Moves Forward

Barrar Bill to Protect Seniors from Property Tax Hikes Moves Forward
HARRISBURG – The House Finance Committee approved legislation authored by Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) that would freeze property taxes for senior citizens.

“For years the people of Pennsylvania have struggled with the burden of ever-increasing property taxes,” said Barrar. “Senior citizens have an especially difficult time with property taxes because they have increased so dramatically, but seniors live on fixed incomes. Freezing property taxes for older Pennsylvanians will help keep senior citizens in their homes, and it is the right thing to do.”
Barrar’s House Bill 873 would freeze the property taxes on primary residences for any Pennsylvanian who is at least 65 years of age, a widow or widower who is at least 50 years of age, or any person who is at least 18 years old and permanently disabled. If the residence is eventually sold or transferred, the property tax rate would become current, unless it is transferred to a surviving spouse who is at least 50 years of age.
“The Legislature has talked for years about property tax reform, but it has been unable to do anything meaningful,” said Barrar. “This legislation would have a genuinely positive impact on the lives of our senior citizens, who do not deserve to be taxed out of their homes. I am hopeful this legislation will be fast-tracked and approved by the end of this legislative session because it will provide real property tax relief.”
Eligible residents who wish to participate would be required to apply for the freeze with local taxing authorities. Barrar’s legislation would apply to school property taxes, as well as county and local property taxes. It would set a base payment for each claimant to reflect the property taxes due as of the 2009 tax year or the year the claimant becomes eligible. Local taxing authorities would be entitled to reimbursements from the state for any difference in the current tax rate and the base tax rate of all local claimants.
Barrar noted that this bill is only the first step toward the meaningful property tax reform taxpayers have been calling for, and that all Pennsylvanians deserve a more fair and equitable system for funding public education and local government.
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