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Eliminating property taxes in PA?

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Pennsylvania homeowners pay one of the highest property taxes in the country.

Some shell out thousands each year.

But what if you no longer had to pay?

Some say it's closer to a reality than many believe.

An alliance in Pennsylvania says if passed, a grassroots bill will eliminate rising school property taxes that have caused headaches, and sometimes worse, for homeowners.

More than 100 concerned taxpayers packed Lackawanna College Theater Wednesday night in Scranton.

They hope House Bill and Senate Bill 76 will totally eliminate school property taxes across the state.

The bill was started by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations, an alliance of 87 grassroots taxpayer advocacy groups from across the state.

The group says school property taxes continue to rise each year while the way we finance our education system continues to crumble.

They believe it's time to find another way to fund our school districts.

The bill has the support from local Representative Kevin Haggerty.

Haggerty says many homeowners have or are close to losing their homes because of rising property taxes.

"The city of Scranton which I represent is the worst,” Haggerty said.

“We have the highest property taxes probably in the state of PA. Our schools are not doing well in the city of Scranton. Out of the 500 school districts, there's only 6 school districts that are on a watch list and we are one of them. So why are we paying these high property taxes?"

Right now, a person who owns a $250,000 dollar home in Kingston will pay about $4,000 a year in property taxes.

Compare that to the state average of $3,765.

The national average is just a little more than three thousand dollars.

"Property taxes can be very unfair. There's a lot of people who pay more than they can afford,” Robert Waldeck, who attended the meeting, said.

“So, there definitely needs to be something that needs to be done about that. There certainly needs to be changes, but I just don't know if this is the right way."

If this is passed, the goal is to eliminate school property taxes over a two-year period.

According to the P.C.T.A., public schools will not lose funding. The state would ultimately increase other taxes like sales and income tax by 1% to make up for it.

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