• Legislative Alert
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    TESD Opposes Restriction of Property Tax Assessment Appeals Initiated by Local Taxing Authorities
    In January, the TESD School Board passed a resolution opposing school property tax elimination (Senate Bill 76) because of the negative impact of such legislation on Pennsylvania schools. In concert with other school districts, we asked for community involvement to contact legislators across the state, and they heard your message. At this time, the movement for school property tax elimination appears to have slowed, but a different legislative threat has emerged in the form of House Bill 1213.

    There are two major components of HB 1213 of concern to TESD. First, businesses and residents are permitted to appeal their property tax assessments when they believe the value of their property is inconsistent with the current market. School districts may also initiate an appeal when they determine that a parcel is underassessed. HB 1213 would restrict school districts from initiating property tax assessment appeals. TESD has only initiated tax appeals for commercial properties when recent sale prices have significantly exceeded the current assessed values.

    Second, HB 1213 also includes language that would provide a loophole for commercial properties to appeal their property assessment values based on the equivalent of having a vacant, non-operating business. Known as the “dark store” amendment, this measure severely jeopardizes revenue for PA schools. Aimed at big-box stores and large apartment complexes, these entities would be advantaged by lower assessed values equivalent to an empty site, even if the commercial property is flourishing.

    This reduction in taxes paid by commercial property owners would result in increases for residential taxpayers in the District. Over the past four years, TESD has successfully appealed properties that were undervalued based on economic factors and sales of comparable properties and the courts agreed. These TESD-initiated property assessment appeals have produced over $500,000 in new property tax revenue to fund the District’s educational program.

    District-initiated appeals are not about tax increases. Appeals are only granted when a determination is made that the current assessment is unfair compared to what is asked of other taxpayers. When a commercial property is permitted to pay at a rate below the market, the remaining taxpayers are left with a higher obligation to maintain school programs.

    On May 22, 2017, the TESD School Board approved a resolution opposing any legislation that restricts a local taxing authority’s ability to initiate property tax assessment appeals and includes a “dark store” amendment that permits commercial properties to be assessed below the market. The resolution also calls for periodic reassessment of all properties to ensure that all taxpayers are paying taxes consistent with their current market value.
    We are asking the TE community, parents and staff to contact your local State representatives and voice their opposition to PA House Bill 1213. Please contact your legislators and ask them to vote “no” on HB 1213.   
    Contact Information: 
    Governor Tom Wolf's Office (D)
    225 Main Capitol Building
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
    (717) 787-2500


    PA Senate

    PA House of Representatives


    District 19

    District 157


    Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman (D)
    One North Church Street
    West Chester, PA 19380 
    Phone: (610) 692-2112 
    Fax: (610) 436-1721 

    Hon. Warren Kampf (R)
    42 East Lancaster Ave., Unit A
    Paoli, PA 19301 
    Phone: (610) 251-2876
    Fax: (610) 640-2357



    District 26

    District 167


    Sen. Thomas J. McGarrigle (R)
    610 Lancaster Avenue
    Berwyn, PA 19312 
    Phone: (610) 296-3474
    Fax: (610) 296-3147 

    Hon. Duane Milne (R)
    70 Lancaster Ave., Suite B
    Malvern, PA 19355 
    Phone: (610) 251-1070 
    Fax: (610) 251-1074


    For Additional Information

    Please contact Dr. Wendy Towle, Ad Hoc Legislative Committee Administrative Liaison, (610) 240-1903.