State College Council To Vote Monday On Budget, Proposed Tax Hike

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The average State College homeowner, with a property value of $200,000, would pay $7 more per month….

State College Borough Council will decide Monday whether to go along with one member’s last-minute push to avoid a tax increase in 2014.

Council is expected to vote Monday on a proposed budget that carries a property tax increase of 1.5 mills. But Councilman Jim Rosenberger suggested last week that he would make a motion instead to put off the increase and dig deeper into reserve funds to balance the spending plan.

Rosenberger said he hadn’t seen enough at a series of budget discussions to be convinced that the borough needs to raises taxes in 2014.

Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said that the budget could be modified to include no tax increase and still be passed Monday. Council wouldn’t have to start the process over or hold additional meetings.

PEL: Scranton Faces $20 Million Deficit Next Year; Needs To Raise Taxes

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scranton city government’s budget outlook for next year continues to worsen as the city now faces a possible deficit of nearly $20 million for 2014, according to the city’s financial-recovery coordinator.

That state-appointed Act 47 coordinator, Pennsylvania Economy League, also urges the city to craft a “realistic and responsible” budget for next year that closes the structural deficit and lists as options unspecified hikes in both the real-estate (property) and earned-income (wage) taxes, and an increase in the city’s annual garbage fee.

“I think the letter speaks for itself,” Mr. Cross said in a phone interview. “It shows where the city is in terms of recovery-plan progress and shows the challenges that we always spoke of for 2014 being a challenging year.”

Read the letter here

City Business Administrator Gina McAndrew said the 2014 budget is in the works. She would not rule out any increases in taxes or fees but declined to say what may be under consideration.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/pel-scranton-faces-20-million-deficit-next-year-needs-to-raise-taxes-1.1566385

President Proposing Tax Hikes

WASHINGTON — Seeking an elusive middle ground, President Barack Obama is proposing a 2014 budget that embraces tax increases abhorred by Republicans as well as reductions, loathed by liberals, in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs.

The plan, if ever enacted, could touch almost all Americans.  The rich would see tax increases, the poor and the elderly would get smaller annual increases in their benefits, and middle income taxpayers would slip into higher tax brackets despite Obama’s repeated vows not to add to the tax burden of the middle class.  His proposed changes, once phased in, would mean a cut in Social Security benefits of nearly $1,000 a year for an average 85-year-old, smaller cuts for younger retirees.

Obama proposed much the same without success to House Speaker John Boehner in December. The response Friday was dismissive from Republicans and hostile from liberals, labor and advocates for the elderly.

But the proposal aims to tackle worrisome deficits that are adding to the national debt and placing a long-term burden on the nation, prompting praise from independent deficit hawks.  Obama’s budget also proposes new spending for public works projects, pre-school education and for job and benefit assistance for veterans.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/national-news/412726/President-proposing-tax-hikes

Pottstown School Board Will Keep Property Tax Hike To 2.4% State Limit

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — The Pottstown School Board will limit a property tax increase for the 2013-14 school year to 2.4 percent.

Each year about this time, under the state’s Act 1 legislation, school boards must decide whether to have the administration prepare a preliminary budget for examination, or pledge simply to keep beneath the state-determined index or “cap” for any property tax increases required as part of the budget that gets adopted in June.

The law requires that decision to be made 111 days prior to the spring primary.

That’s because if the board decides it wants to adopt a budget with a tax hike higher than the index allows, it must be approved by voters in that election.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130104/NEWS01/130109843/pottstown-school-board-will-keep-property-tax-hike-to-2-4-state-limit#full_story

Erie City Council Passes $63.3 Million Budget For 2013

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Erie County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Erie County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cost of running the city will rise in 2013.

But Erie homeowners won’t have to pay any additional property taxes or fees to fund the operation.

Erie City Council on Wednesday unanimously passed Mayor Joe Sinnott’s proposed $63.3 million general fund budget with no substantial changes.  The budget is about $2.5 million more than the 2012 budget, which included a 1.65 mill, or 14 percent, annual property tax increase.

“Given the current state of the economy, taxpayers couldn’t bear the burden of two tax increases in a row,” Councilman Bob E. Merski said following the vote at Erie City Hall, 626 State St.

Read more:   http://www.goerie.com/erie-city-council-passes-633-million-budget-for-2013

Lancaster County Nearly Has Balanced Budget

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lancaster County is only about $22,000 shy of balancing next year’s general fund budget, and officials expect to have that covered by Monday, when the entire $252.8 million spending plan is presented to the public.

The plan calls for departmental cuts of 2.75 percent, about $1.3 million in savings from a new high-deductible health insurance plan and a 9.3 percent tax increase — the first to be considered by the current board of commissioners.

The budget also includes raises of 2.75 percent for employees and doesn’t call for layoffs.

Maggie Weidinger, the county’s director of information technology and budget services, went over parts of the plan with the county commissioners on Thursday.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/790236_Lancaster-County-nearly-has-balanced-budget.html#ixzz2ENyYW43c

Lancaster County Budget Plan Splits Board

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

County property taxes would increase for the first time under the current county administration with a plan Commissioner Dennis Stuckey offered Wednesday.

His plan would increase taxes by about 9.3 percent and would include raises for employees of 2.75 percent, along with departmental cuts of about 2.75 percent.

For a home assessed at the county average of $148,000, a property owner would pay about $553, or about $48 more, next year. The millage rate would increase from 3.416 to 3.741 under Stuckey’s plan.

“I don’t throw this out or offer it up lightly,” he said. “It’s not something I particularly want to do or take pleasure in, but I feel like the best course of action is a little more even approach going in to next year, offering something to our employees … and trying to get some value that will assist us in protecting our cash reserve.”

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/787155_Lancaster-County-budget-plan-splits-board.html#ixzz2DeTerjYN

Scranton Mayor Proposes $109 Million Budget For 2013; 12 Percent Tax Hike

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty presented Thursday to city council a $109.6 million budget that contains a 12 percent real-estate tax hike.

Though formally proposed by the mayor, the budget had been prepared jointly by his administration and the council.  Cooperation between both sides on the budget proposal was a change from the prior two budgets that were marked by heated battles, council revisions, mayoral vetoes and council overrides of vetoes.

Read the Budget HERE

“This is the first step in our financial blueprint as we move the city forward, and I appreciate the cooperation of council,” Mr. Doherty said.

A precursor of the budget had been hashed out earlier this year during the mayor/council war over revising the city’s Act 47 recovery plan, which called for a 12 percent real estate tax hike on city residents and various other tax increases and/or new taxes, such as commuter and amusement taxes.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-mayor-proposes-109-million-budget-for-2013-12-percent-tax-hike-1.1404066

Proposed Budget Hikes Berks Property Taxes For 1st Time In 8 Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County property taxes would increase for the first time in eight years under a proposed $462 million budget for 2013 presented to the Berks County commissioners Thursday.

If the budget would be adopted as it stands, annual taxes would rise by 6.3 percent to 7.372 mills from 6.935 mills, or $43.70 annually on a property assessed at $100,000.

The spending plan represents a $2.8 million decrease from the current year’s budget.

The tax increase would raise about $7.7 million, Budget Director Robert J. Patrizio Jr. said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428418

Americans Will Feel Paycheck Pinch As Payroll Tax Break Ends In January

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama isn’t talking about it and neither is Mitt Romney. But come January, 163 million workers can expect to feel the pinch of a big tax increase regardless of who wins the election.

A temporary reduction in Social Security payroll taxes is due to expire at the end of the year and hardly anyone in Washington is pushing to extend it. Neither Obama nor Romney has proposed an extension, and it probably wouldn’t get through Congress anyway, with lawmakers in both parties down on the idea.

Even Republicans who have sworn off tax increases have little appetite to prevent one that will cost a typical worker about $1,000 a year, and two-earner family with six-figure incomes as much as $4,500.

Why are so many politicians sour on continuing the payroll tax break?

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/10/social_security_tax.html

City Of Reading Budget Plan Calls For 15% Property Tax Hike

 

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer, angry at the city’s outside consultants who he said forced an austerity plan on the city at the last minute, on Wednesday presented a $73.4 million proposed 2013 budget that includes a 15 percent property tax hike.

But Spencer said he didn’t support the spending plan.

“This forced austerity plan suggests that we continue on a narrow pathway where our citizens pay more and get less,” he told City Council.

Council members agreed.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=418705

Social Security Worth Higher Tax, Most In Poll Say

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...

Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – Most Americans say go ahead and raise taxes if it will save Social Security benefits for future generations.  And raise the retirement age, if you have to.

Both options are preferable to cutting monthly benefits, even for people who are years away from applying for them.

Those are the findings of a new Associated Press-GfK poll on public attitudes toward the nation’s largest federal program.

Social Security is facing serious long-term financial problems.  When given a choice on how to fix them, 53 percent of adults said they would rather raise taxes than cut benefits for future generations, according to the poll.  Just 36 percent said they would cut benefits instead.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=411559

$59 Million Pottsgrove School District Budget Brings 2.8% Tax Hike

 

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIPProperty taxes will rise by 2.8 percent in the Pottsgrove School District next year as the result of a 8-1 vote Tuesday by the Pottsgrove School Board.

The vote was the final word on the $58.9 million budget for the 2012-13 school year.

The board also voted to set a millage rate of 35.979 mills for the new fiscal year, an increase of .98 mills.

It will raise taxes by $35.98 for every $1,000 of assessed value, or about $118 for a home valued at $120,000, the district’s median assessment, Nester told The Sanatoga Post.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120629/NEWS01/120629285/-59-million-pottsgrove-budget-brings-2-8-tax-hike

Allentown School Taxes Could Rise Nearly 5%

English: View of Allentown, Pa from Keck Park

English: View of Allentown, Pa from Keck Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Allentown School Board on Thursday approved a proposed $235 million spending plan for 2012-13 that includes a nearly 5 percent tax hike.

The board’s 8-1 vote means a property owner’s tax bill would rise about $86, to $1,890, on a home assessed at the district’s $37,500 average. The millage rate would go up 2.3 mills to about 50.4.

Superintendent Russ Mayo faulted Gov. Tom Corbett for shifting a greater financial burden on school districts.

He said the governor’s proposed state budget for 2012-13 has about $100 million less for kindergarten, tutoring and class-size programs. That’s on top of the $900 million in school funding he cut statewide in 2011-12.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-school-budget-0524-20120525,0,4061905.story

Taxes Set To Rise As Wilson School District Board Of Education Approves Budget

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wilson School Board on Monday approved an $87 million tentative budget that would require a 2 percent tax hike. The vote was 5-2.

The budget doesn’t require layoffs, furloughs or any program cuts, said Diane J. Richards, director of finance and support services. To balance the budget, Wilson needs to use $525,000 from reserves to cover higher pension contributions.

The 0.46-mill proposed property tax hike would increase the tax to 23.77 mills. The owner of a property assessed at $100,000 would see a tax bill increase to $2,377 from $2,331.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=384861

Hempfield School District Anticipates Tax Hike

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Residents of Hempfield School District are looking at a 2 percent increase in school taxes in the 2012-13 academic year.

Hempfield school board Tuesday unanimously approved the proposed $103 million budget, up from $98 million in 2011-12.

The tax hike would raise the tax millage rate from 18.266 to 18.631, Mary Lynne Kniley, director of finance for the district, said Tuesday evening.

That means the owner of an average home, valued at $146,700, would pay an additional $53.55 in property taxes next year.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/640440_Hempfield-anticipates-tax-hike.html#ixzz1tlzEfyqd

Manheim Township School Board Will Raise Taxes

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a near-unanimous vote, Manheim Township school board agreed to use the district’s full taxing power next year and raise property taxes by as much as 4.1 percent.

The decision followed a lengthy discussion focusing on the rising cost of pensions, special-education services and other mandated programs and the extensive cuts in educational programs and staffing the district has made to try to balance next year’s budget.

The cuts have helped narrow a projected $4.7 million revenue gap, but board members said any additional reductions would cause too much harm to students.

Township teachers last week agreed to a two-year salary freeze that is expected to save the district $2 million next year, and 25 teachers have accepted an early retirement incentive that could save another $1.8 million.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/630554_Manheim-Township-will-raise-taxes.html#ixzz1sbPwvfyd

Governor Mifflin School District Still Grappling With $2 Million Shortfall

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Image via Wikipedia

Eliminating or curtailing academic programs should only be a last resort for closing the $2.1 million gap in the Gov. Mifflin School District’s draft 2012-13 budget, administrators told school board members Monday.

But if the district wants to keep that option open, it needs to get started soliciting state approval to make program changes.

Administrators suggested that board members vote next week to ask the state’s permission to scale back technical education, world language and family and consumer science programs, eliminating five teaching positions.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=370761

Pottstown Sixth Ward Councilor Jody Rhoads Votes NO For Tax Increase

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

A prepared statement was read by Councilor Rhoads at Monday night’s Pottstown Borough Council meeting outlining why he can not support any tax increase for Pottstown Borough property owners.

Jody writes:

“We all know our staff has been working hard on the budget, and have done a good job.  I keep hearing there are a lot of positive things happening in Pottstown.  A tax hike whether $10 or $100 is not one of them, especially when it involves a 2% raise for management*.

Apparently there are some who are happy about giving out tax dollars away for raises, when in fact a good portion of the taxpayers:

  1. Are jobless
  2. Can’t find work
  3. Had their pay and hours cut
  4. Are on a fixed income
  5. Are losing or lost their house to Sheriff Sale
  6. Cannot pay their bills
  7. Cannot afford health insurance

Well, I’m not happy about it.”

End of prepared statement.

*The 2% increase is for staff not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.  This amounts to $25,145.53. 

Councilor Rhoads suggested to President Toroney (via email) that the $5,335.61 allotted to the General Fund for raises in 2012 should be removed from the budget.

In an email response to Councilor Rhoads, President Toroney stated “Management salary is an easy target for cuts, while union workers get their increase for next year, making the disparity between rank and file and management even closer, that, management will soon be making less than rank and file.  Freezes need to be across the board for fairness which I would support.”

This year’s budget will include a 1.68% property tax increase, which translates into a $14.35 per year increase for a home assessed at $85,000.