McKeesport – October 10, 2013 – State Sen. Jim Brewster said today that he was pleased to support plans introduced in the Senate that would freeze property taxes for seniors.

Brewster (D-Allegheny) said that he has co-sponsored Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi’s (R-Delaware) plan in addition to Sen. Lisa Boscola’s (D-Northampton) proposal – Senate Bill 484 – that freeze taxes for seniors.   He said that he expects tax freeze legislation to be reviewed by the Senate in the near future.

“It is clear that we need to move forward with tax relief for all property taxpayers, but we can start with freezing taxes for seniors,” Brewster said.  “There is so much pressure on seniors now and they need immediate help.”

Pileggi’s plan, introduced as Senate Bill 299, would freeze property taxes following the establishment of a base payment.  Any person aged 65 years of age or older who has paid their taxes and had a homestead exemption for the previous five years would be eligible for the freeze.  Qualifying seniors would not have to pay more taxes in excess of the base payment.

“As co-sponsor of both Sen. Pileggi and Boscola’s plans, I am strongly supportive of any effort that reduces the tax burden faced by seniors,” Brewster said.  “We also need to move quickly to enact a comprehensive reform that meets the needs of all property taxpayers.”

Brewster said he has sponsored legislation by Sen. David Argall (R-Carbon/Schuylkill/Berks) called the Property Tax Independence Act (Senate Bill 76) that would totally eliminate school property taxes and replace that levy with a combination of personal income and sales taxes.  This plan provides a two-year phase in tax elimination period and sales taxes would generate about two-thirds of revenue necessary to replace property taxes.

The lawmaker said that there is renewed energy in the General Assembly to act on property-tax relief legislation.  He said that analysts from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office are slated to appear at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday, October 15 to discuss the Senate and House (House Bill 76) plans that eliminate property taxes.

“The bottom line is that we need to act soon to address the hardship experienced by seniors and other property taxpayers resulting from high property tax bills,” Brewster said.  “Doing nothing is not an option.”

Brewster is the former mayor of McKeesport and now serves as Democratic chair of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.


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