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Illegal?  Swann 'proposal' to cap homeowners' property taxes already deemed illegal?

Swann advocates property-tax cap, but tax experts call it illegal.


By PETER JACKSON
Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP, April 26) - A major element of Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann's tax-fighting agenda – a cap on property taxes – would violate the Pennsylvania Constitution, several tax experts said Wednesday.
In a Tuesday speech at a Camp Hill luncheon sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association of Retired Employees, Swann promised to cap property taxes in a way that ensures that the taxes of individual homeowners do not change as long as they own their property, his campaign confirmed.
Swann campaign spokesman Lenny Alcivar said Wednesday that Swann also will advocate an overhaul of the present property assessment system with "a more efficient and predictable" method when he unveils his complete plan at still-to-be-announced date in May.
However, two tax lawyers and another expert interviewed separately said the proposal would violate a provision in the state constitution that says "All taxes shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax."
"It clearly violates the uniformity provision of the state constitution," said Bob Louis, a tax lawyer with Saul Ewing in Philadelphia.
"To do this, Mr. Swann is going to have to amend the constitution," Louis said. "Good luck to him."
Doug Hill, executive director of the Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association, which advocates for the state's 67 county governments on tax issues before the Legislature, agreed that such a proposal would be unconstitutional.
Amending the Constitution is a time-consuming process that requires approval in two separate, two-year sessions of the Legislature, followed by voter ratification in a statewide referendum.
A lawyer who works for Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, an early Swann supporter, said the former football star's proposal is not necessarily dead on arrival.
J. Andrew Crompton, who is Jubelirer's counsel, speculated that it may be possible to insulate homeowners from tax increases without violating the constitution through changes in the assessment system.
Also, a constitutional amendment voters approved in 1997 to make possible the "homestead exemptions" that are available in some school districts introduced the concept of a limited differential in tax rates levied on residential taxpayers and businesses, he said.
 
"There is leeway there. There is opportunity there. Perhaps they want to amend the constitution. I don't know," Crompton said...
more...
 
Meanwhile...

Um where were these experts when the state reps. passed pay-raises and took the increase as unvouchered expenses during the session, well, you get it by now, Pennsylvanians, right?
 
Are these Democrat tax experts, per chance?
 
Leeway already present from 1997 Homestead Exemption Legislation in PA? 
 
Years ago Net the Truth Online's predecessor, Truth Online, revealed the so called Homestead Act altered the PA Constitution to permit a sort-of duality of taxation systems.  Homeowners would get a  reduction on the 50 percent median value of a primary residence, or some such deep calulations to make it seem a hundred bucks reduction was magnanimous.
 
Likewise, in our WakeUp material, we show Keystone Opportunity Zones violate the PA Constitution's Uniformity of Taxation Clause.  Now where are the taxation savvy lawyers on KOZs? 
 
Nowhere.

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