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Monroe County residents discuss property tax woes at forum

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EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WOLF) -- Lawmakers from across the state listened to the concerns of local property owners in East Stroudsburg tonight.

They say high property taxes are making it difficult to live comfortably in their own communities and are trying to find solutions to make things more manageable.

“Its getting to where I cannot afford to live here any longer.”

Jane Gagliardo has lived in East Stroudsburg since 1971 and is now also a landlord.

She loves the community she’s called home for nearly five decades, but she’s looking into moving out to Western Pennsylvania because the property taxes have become too high for her to manage.

“You can’t expect tenants to continually have a raise in their rent to satisfy property tax. Its not fair for them and its certainly not fair to me as soon to be a retiree,” Gagliardo said.

State Representative Maureen Madden says it comes down to various reasons, one of which being school funding.

“School funding is tied to your zip code. Right here, we are funded at about 25%, so if we were funded 50% our property tax burden would go down because we fund our school through property taxes. There are other areas of the state where they’re funded 60% education, so they have far less of a property tax burden than we do,” Madden, (D) Monroe County, said.

Madden hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee forum tonight on property taxes at the Dansbury Depot in East Stroudsburg.

She says the goal is to inform other lawmakers about Monroe County’s tax burden and eventually build a coalition of people to find a solution to the issue.

Gagliardo’s testimony was joined by two others and several more public comments as the panel made up of policy experts and state legislators listened and offered possible solutions, including Madden’s plan for a 50% property tax reduction.

Republican Representative Jack Rader, who also represents communities in Monroe County, says the issue is bipartisan of which he hears from his constituents daily.

“Its my number one issue in Harrisburg, its what I think about all the time when I talk to leadership or other issues, its always in the back of my mind,” Rader said.

The committee plans to meet several more times across the state and listening to people from other communities, before getting together and trying to come up with solutions.

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