The Commonwealth’s system of local taxation must produce stable revenues and be uniform and consistent in its application and treatment of employers. The Pennsylvania Chamber supports local tax policy that promotes a competitive business climate and efforts at the state level that encourage local taxing authorities to continually pursue this objective. The mosaic of local governing bodies which include counties, municipalities and school districts and the vast ways and degrees each tax business underscores the need for reform. Short of comprehensive local government consolidations, gross receipts and the various nuisance taxes should give way to a simpler, more predictable tax base modeled after the state income tax base.
Counties are tasked with assessing property values and approach this responsibility in a variety of ways. The PA Chamber supports assessment reform that provides clear, consistent and standardized assessment standards, including periodic, mandatory reassessment. One particular area of concern is the growing trend of some local taxing authorities evading the prohibition on spot property assessments by simply filing appeals. This practice often targets businesses, which can experience unpredictable property tax increases as a result. The PA Chamber supports prohibiting spot appeals except under specific, legitimate circumstances.
The PA Chamber appreciates and shares concerns related to rising property taxes and believes state legislation that seeks to reduce property taxes should:
- Focus on mandates and cost-drivers that precipitate efforts to increase revenue;
- Place reasonable limits on local governments’ ability to raise taxes and increase or create new fees;
- Provide tax adjustments that are proportionate to a property’s assessed value;
- Treat properties uniformly;
- Establish no new state or local business taxes; and
- Not expand or increase any state or local business taxes.