• Legislative Update
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    Clarification on House Bill 1213 - February 8, 2018

    As indicated in the February 2, 2018 e-newsletter, the T/E School District opposes House Bill 1213 because it restricts a school district’s ability to initiate property tax assessment appeals. TESD stands by its resolution that HB 1213 is not good for school districts or taxpayers.  Some residents have asked for further clarification regarding HB 1213:

    • A School District appeal of a property tax assessment is not a spot assessment as defined by the law. School Districts do not and cannot assess properties. Only the County Board of Assessment can be accused of spot assessing properties.

    • What the PA Supreme Court recently held is that criteria for appeals initiated by school districts must be reasonable and may not single out particular classifications of property. This means that TESD can never arbitrarily single out a residential or commercial property for appeal as that would be illegal. TESD has never supported arbitrarily targeting individual properties whether commercial or residential and has no plans to do so moving forward. The selection of properties for appeals by TESD has always been based and will continue to be based on a large disparity between assessed value and actual fair market value. 

    • There is an inherent unfairness in the property appeal process in HB 1213’s current form. The bill maintains the property owner’s ability to appeal their assessment while severely limiting the school district’s ability to appeal an under-assessed property. If property owners can continue to reduce their assessments without a meaningful path for school districts to reclaim revenue for under-assessed properties, taxes will be increased for all, student programs will be cut, or both.

    • District-initiated appeals are not about tax increases. Appeals are only granted when a determination is made by the county that the current assessment is unfair compared to the market value for the property. When a property owner is permitted to pay at a rate below the market, the remaining taxpayers are left with a higher obligation to maintain school programs.