Property tax circuit breaker that would provide property tax relief and fairness proposed by Freeman

HARRISBURG, April 25 – It’s no secret that Pennsylvanians are looking for relief from rising property taxes, and state Rep. Robert Freeman is offering a proposal to address that concern.

“It seems that nearly every year, property taxes go up and the bills get more difficult to pay for many families and especially older Pennsylvanians on a fixed income who are struggling to stay in their homes,” Freeman said. “This proposal would offer Pennsylvania homeowners needed property tax relief and build fairness into the property tax system by capping property taxes to reflect household income.”

Freeman and state Sen. Jimmy Dillon, D-Phila., held a Capitol news conference today to discuss their legislation that would amend the state constitution to allow property tax circuit breakers to be used in Pennsylvania. Both legislators have introduced identical legislation on the issue in their respective chambers.

“A property tax circuit breaker is quite simple: it would protect taxpayers from a property tax overload just like an electric circuit breaker prevents an electrical overload. Specifically, it would exempt homeowners from having to pay that portion of their property tax bill that exceeds a certain set percentage of their household income,” Freeman said.

Added Dillion: “A property tax circuit breaker will help stabilize neighborhoods and communities across the commonwealth. By reducing the tax burden, more Pennsylvanians can purchase and maintain family homes.”

In Pennsylvania, a proposed constitutional amendment must pass the General Assembly in two consecutive legislative sessions before being placed on the ballot to be considered by the state’s voters. If the Pennsylvania electorate approves the proposal, Freeman said enabling legislation would need to be passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor to institute property tax circuit breakers and to set the percentage threshold amount of property tax to household income that would trigger the circuit breaker.

Freeman’s H.B. 656 was referred to the House Finance Committee. Dillon introduced companion legislation (S.B. 635) in the state Senate.