From LOCAL TAX REFORM: A CLOSE LOOK AT ACT 50 OF 1998: WHAT WILL IT MEAN FOR YOUR DISTRICT, PA School Board Association, 1998.
Q: Must a local tax study commission be appointed to implement tax reform? A: As a first step, school boards are permitted but not required to appoint a local tax study commission to recommend changes to a districtís tax structure. If after two years the board doesnít place a referendum question on the ballot, voters may petition for a local tax study commission before initiating a referendum on the shift to a new tax system. (P. 20)
Q: If a local tax study commission initiated by the voters recommends a change in the tax structure and the school board rejects the recommendation, must the board place it on the ballot? A: No. The board could place its own proposal on the ballot. However, if the board takes no action to place a question on the ballot, voters could initiate a petitition to place the proposal on the ballot.
If after two years from the effective date of Act 50, the school board has failed to place a referendum question on the ballot, the voters may initiate a petition. The petition would only compel the board to form a local tax study commission.
The petition must contain the signatures of at least 2 percent of the number voting for the office of governor in the last gubernatorial election. The number of required signatures is based on the number voting within the school district. For example, if 500 voted in the election, but only 200 voted for the office of governor, the 2 percent would be applied to 200.
If the petition meets the election requirements, as certified by county election officials, the school district must appoint a tax study commission. Its structure, deadlines, and mission are the same as if the school board had created it on its own initiative.