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Corbett Seeks To Prevent Property Tax Hikes That Could Follow Education Cuts

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HARRISBURG (CBS) - Governor Corbett wants to further limit the ability of Pennsylvania school districts to raise property taxes as a he proposes major cuts in education funding.

Answering critics who say cuts in state funding for public schools will simply result in local tax hikes, Governor Corbett, in his budget address, proposed that all property tax hikes above the rate of inflation be subject to voter referendum.

There is, in fact, already such a requirement in state law. What the governor is actually proposing to do is eliminate ten exemptions to that law.

“This does not say that they can’t raise property taxes. It just means that they need voter approval to do it,” said Ronald Tomalis, Corbett’s nominee for Secretary of Education.

David Davare, of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, says those exemptions are for factors beyond the control of districts.

“Organizationally, I don’t know that we would go along with eliminating any of them, but there are a couple that are extremely critical to school districts,” said Davare.

Davare adds that the PSBA believes two referendum exemptions, related to mandated special education costs and retirement contributions,  are especially vital.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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