The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

May 20, 2007

Tax reform proposal falls in all Valley school districts

Tax reform that would have increased earned income tax in return for a property tax rebate was shot down by voters in every Central Susquehanna Valley school district in Tuesday's primary election.

The tax reform came within eight votes of passage in the Shikellamy School District, failing 1,126 to 1,114.

Voters in that district were asked to approve an additional 0.5 percent earned income tax increase in exchange for a $176 property tax rebate.

Critics of the proposal had noted that for many, the rebate wouldn't have been as much as the earned income tax increase.

And the pinch would have been particularly painful for renters who would have been socked with a tax increase without any rebate at all.

Supporters had claimed that the reform would have been good for retirees and other property owners who have been shouldering the burden of funding the school system.

The tax reform fell 1,450 to 1,367 in Danville; 1,349 to 1,323 in Lewisburg; 618 to 446 in Line Mountain; 1,959 to 1,430 in Midd-West; 1,253 to 1,172 in Mifflinburg; 926 to 768 in Milton; 1,594 to 1,378 in Selinsgrove; and 694 to 604 in Warrior Run.

Some variation of the question was asked in all but three of the state's 501 school districts under a 2006 law that promises to deliver as much as $1 billion a year in slots revenue for tax cuts financed by slot-machine gambling.

The ballot questions called for shifting at least 25 percent of the local school-tax burden -- but not more than 50 percent -- to a higher earned income tax, which most school districts already levy on wages and other compensation, or to a new local personal income tax.

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