Statewide Referendum: Passed

Pennsylvania Voters Passed the Statewide Referendum

The statewide referendum passed during the municipal election in November. This is just a step toward achieving property tax reform.

The Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to allow the legislature to pass new laws regarding your property taxes that would permit taxing authorities to exempt residents from paying any tax on their primary residences.

If the legislature takes action, taxing authorities — counties, municipalities, and school districts — would then have the option to enact their own exemptions that would apply only to primary residences. The constitutional amendment makes no changes to commercial and industrial properties or second homes.

Taxing authorities would have to find replacement funding, like sales or income taxes, which may require more state legislation.

For more information, see our frequently asked questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Issues PAR is working on for homeowners

  • National Tax Reform Legislation – Realtors® are opposed to Congress’ tax reform proposal unveiled in early November. This bill is a direct threat to consumers, to homeowners and to businesses. Not only will millions of homeowners not benefit from the proposal, many will see a tax increase. Additionally, homeowners could lose substantial equity from the more than 10 percent drop in home values likely to result if the bill is enacted.
  • House Bill 1285 (Maloney, R-Berks) – This bill, which passed in July, would allow modifications to the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Uniformity Clause to allow residential property tax relief. The referendum was approved by voters in November’s municipal election. PAR supported the passage of the referendum.
  • Senate Bill 76 (Argall, R-Schuylkill) – PAR supports this bill, which proposes to eliminate property taxes by prohibiting school districts from levying a school property tax. The funding would be replaced with an increase in the state’s Personal Income Tax from 3.07 to 4.95 percent, an increase in the state’s Sales and Use Tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, the expansion of the goods and services subject to the state’s Sales and Use Tax, and an increase in the Hotel Occupancy Tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.
  • Senate Bill 201 (Folmer, R-Lebanon) and House Bill 331 (Bloom, R-Cumberland) – The bill would allow like-kind exchanges in Pennsylvania, mirroring the federal law. PAR supports this legislation.
  • House Bill 1001 (Helm, R-Dauphin) – The association supports the proposed Home Inspector Licensing Act, which would regulate home inspectors. Home inspections have become an important part of the homebuying and selling process.
  • Act 133 – PAR worked to pass Act 133, which amended the state Municipal Code and Ordinance Compliance Act. The amendment more clearly defines “unfit for habitation” to provide better guidance to local code enforcement officials. The amendment creates a new category of “Temporary Access” certificates that would allow a sale to move forward, but require that substantial code violations be corrected prior to the new owner inhabiting the property. It also requires that all other code violations be corrected within a certain time frame, with financial and other penalties left in place for failure to comply.
  • National Flood Insurance Program – Realtors® have testified before Congress, urging them to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, which was set to expire Sept. 30, 2017. This program is critical to homeowners and business owners. Congress reauthorized the insurance program for three months.

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