Tax Exemption Payback Could Stabilize PA Communities, Some Lawmakers Say

Mar 10, 2015

State Rep. Rob Freeman, D-Easton, wants to use liquor tax proceeds to make up for local government revenue lost to property tax exemption.

Freeman first pitched this to an enthusiastic House Local Government Committee in 2007, but the recession hit before it got any traction.

Eight years later, the state still needs the money, given the looming deficit of between $1 billion and $2.3 billion (depending whom you ask).

So why now?

“With the debate going on about Senate Bill 4, it seems timely to talk about,” Freeman says. “And once we get into a position where we can divert this kind of revenue, to put into those communities, you’re not battling between cities and tax exempts, you’re providing a real solution to fiscal stability.”

Read a full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities.