Victimizing The Most Vulnerable
Governments often prey on those least able to defend themselves, because it is more difficult to attack those who have the assets to fight back. A textbook example of this is found in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
When property reassessments occur, more affluent homeowners are financially able to hire professionals—attorneys at $350 and appraisers at $500-- to fight for a lower assessment. Since assessments are basically a county assessors’ guesstimate of what a property is worth, the hired professionals often ‘win’ a lower assessment for the affluent homeowner, saving her or him thousands of dollars in taxes.
However, the young couple, single parent, widow, widower, disabled, frail elderly and low income workers cannot afford the gamble of hiring the professionals. Often, they either go less prepared to their assessment hearing, or don’t appeal the assessment at all. Thus they often pay higher school, municipal and county taxes than appropriate.
If the affluent homeowner ‘loses’ at the assessment hearing, he or she can appeal to the Court of Common Pleas. The filing fee is $62, and to be effective in that arena generally requires hiring an attorney. Once again, this is often beyond the reach of the common person.
Many people are intimidated by hearings, especially in Common Pleas court. Some are too ill or frail to fight the battle. These folks tend to do nothing and often are the one’s victimized by sheriff sales.
Property taxes on homesteads are fundamentally flawed, terribly unjust and need replaced with taxes that are based on one’s ability to pay. Anger at one’s government is a principal reason people choose to relocate from one state to another.
When told by family and friends how unjust Pennsylvania’s property taxes are, and how heavily our state relies on them to fund our schools, counties and municipalities, many people will not consider relocating here.
Recently, we learned of a young couple from McCandless Township, PA who bought their home 3 years ago. The property taxes have more than doubled over those three years to over $5,000. The couple is so angry, they are moving to Arizona. They bought an Arizona home of equal value to the one in McCandless, but the property taxes in Arizona are $1,000 per year. That’s an annual saving of $4,000. Over a ten year period the couple would save $40,000 in property taxes. Can we blame them for moving? And so our area loses another young couple. And, perhaps the parents will follow.
Senate Bills 717-718; and House Bills 1572 and 1573 would abolish all property taxes on homesteads. Fifty-seven PA Legislators are co-sponsoring these bills. Learn more about the legislation and see who the sponsors are here on our website.
- Anonymous says :
- I purchased a home in Berks County, PA, last year. My taxes were $5,300 when I settled. One year later they are $9,000. My husband and I are going to lose our home, but no one will buy it because of the outrageous taxes.
- Anonymous says :
- I WENT THROUGH A TAX SALE RECENTLY. IT IS A TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE. I LIVE ALONE.I REFUSED TO PAY TAXES BECAUSE MY NEIGHBORS WERE CAUSING ME TROUBLE (TRESPASSING, VANDALISM, HARRASSMENT, ETC.)AND I DO NOT GET ANYTHING FOR THE TAXES I PAY(SCHOOL CHILDREN, ACTIVITIES OF THE COUNTY WHICH I DO NOT GO TO, ETC.). MY HOUSE HAD A BID ON IT RIGHT AWAY. MY TROUBLESOME NEIGHBORS ALSO DID NOT PAY TAXES, BUT GOT AWAY WITH IT FOR OVER TEN YEARS. WHY ALSO SHOULD SOMEONE HAVE THREE KIDS, LIVE IN A HYOUSING PROJECT, GET WELFARE, NOT PAY TOWARD THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES, GARBAGE, POLICE PROTECTION, FIRE PROTECTION, FREE ACTIVITIES FUNDED BY TAXPAYERS, ETC.?THIS IS AN UNFAIR TAX. IT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED.
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