According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “Property taxes contribute 30% or more of total public-school funding in 29 states.” However, using property tax income to fund public schools can be unreliable because of the fluctuating property values in some neighborhoods. Additionally, opinion polls over the years have shown that property taxes are the ones that Americans hate paying the most. While a lot of attention is on Texas, whose voters are set to cast ballots on an $18 billion property tax cut package on November 7, 2023, other states including Illinois, Nebraska, and New Jersey, have considered legislation to address various forms of property tax relief in 2023.
Pennsylvania: Various Bills for Property Tax Relief, Including Elimination
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania in the 2023-2024 legislative session have already introduced a plethora of bills to provide property tax relief to Pennsylvanians. One bill would change the current state requirement that says disabled veterans may receive full property tax exemption due to being rated 100% disabled from wartime service. The bill would remove the “wartime service” stipulation to allow for all veterans who are declared or rated 100% disabled due to their service. Another bill, HB 510, would provide for the optional freezing of property taxes for seniors. Under the bill, local governments would be allowed to freeze someone’s property taxes if they meet certain eligibility requirements (65 years or older, have an annual income of less than $80,000, and established residency in Pennsylvania for five years).
Other lawmakers in Pennsylvania have pushed even further for property tax relief, calling for changing the constitution to remove property taxes all together. Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate as constitutional amendments to eliminate property taxes. While the text of the Senate bill has not been made public yet, the House bill states that no school district would be able to levy a property tax after June 30, 2027. The bill also requires the General Assembly to provide each school district annually with the same amount of funding as they received from property taxes.
New Jersey: Reserve Account Now Available for School Funding
On May 11, 2023, Assemblymen John Dimaio (R) introduced Assembly Bill 5447. The bill would establish a rainy day fund that schools could access for funding in the event of an economic emergency if property tax relief fund revenue were to decline. The state treasurer would be tasked with determining the annual amount to be credited to the Subaccount for School Funding Protection.
Wyoming: Property Tax Relief Expansion
In the 2023 legislative session, Wyoming lawmakers were able to expand the state’s property tax relief program. Specifically, the legislature raised the income limit for eligibility from 75% of the county or state median income to 125%. The state median income in Wyoming is over $86,000 annually, which will cover 15/23 counties in the state. The other counties have higher median incomes, ranging from $92,000 (Uinta County) to $114,125 (Campbell County).
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