The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 17, 2014

Tax fairness, justice, and respect

On behalf of my fellow senior citizens on a fixed income, it is time our county and state reduces or eliminates real estate and/or school taxes on us. Several states recognize seniors deserve tax relief and have enacted reductions, exemptions, a STAR Program, Proposition 13, and homestead provisions that reduce or eliminate property and/or school taxes for seniors.

I hope our Union County commissioners hear us and use their know-how and leadership by making some immediate changes that grant relief to senior citizens, by using revenue from several of the following to off-set property or school taxes for seniors: collecting all delinquent taxes; enacting a 10 percent hotel/lodging tax; enacting a 25-cent surcharge on restaurant meals costing $10 or more; enacting a county income tax surcharge of 10 percent on incomes of $100,000 or more.

Or, by enacting a law that senior citizens are exempt from increases in school taxes. Or use a graduated system that reflects fairness, respects our seniors, and recognizes their years of responsibility by implementing this proposal: seniors, starting at age 62, who have combined earnings of less than $100,000 and homes valued under $250,000, have their property taxes for their residences reduced as follows: a reduction of 75 percent if have lived in residence for 20 years, a reduction of 50 percent if have lived in residence for 10 years, and a reduction of 25 percent if they have lived in residence for five years.   

Additionally, we need to ask our governor and state senators and representatives to provide revenue offsets for seniors’ property and school taxes by closing the Delaware Loophole and/or enacting a special five-percent natural gas tax that would be used to reduce property taxes for seniors yet provide needed revenue to our schools and improve our infrastructure.

These are a few ideas, for starters. It is done in other counties and states, so why can’t we? If Pennsylvania, by law, can exempt some farm land from property taxes, it is time seniors, too, were exempt. Your ideas are needed.

You can help make a difference by calling our commissioners and state representatives weekly or monthly and writing a letter to the editor. Be polite yet firm when you call and re-call.

E. Jack Nentwig,

Kelly Township

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