Slight Tax Hike Projected In 2014 Limerick Budget

Location of Limerick Township in Montgomery County

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

LIMERICK TOWNSHIP, PA — In a close vote, the township supervisors voted at Tuesday night’s meeting to advertise a proposed budget with a small property tax increase.

The $23,734,327 budget carries a tax increase of 5.75 percent to close a funding gap of $157,720. An owner with a property assessed at the township’s average of $150,000 would see a $16 increase on their tax bill yearly.

As such, the town’s mill rate would stand at 2.004.

The dividing line on the 3-2 vote was whether to close the funding gap using reserves or with a tax increase.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131119/slight-tax-hike-projected-in-2014-limerick-budget

Reading City Council Disagrees On Land-Value Tax Option

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

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s push to switch the current property tax to a land-value tax over the next five years ran into a traffic jam with City Council on Monday.

Some members flat out rejected it, and Council President Francis G. Acosta said he’d prevent any vote until he hears public support for the move.

The argument began when Gordon Mann, senior consultant with Public Financial Management Inc., the city’s Act 47 adviser, said it expects to have a recommendation on the proposal in 30 days.

“On the other hand, we have had a lot of conversations about it, and I need to have some feedback from council,” said Eron Lloyd, Spencer’s special assistant and point man for the land-value tax, which he says will encourage economic development.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=503411

Pottstown Property Owners Facing 2.4 Percent Tax Hike Under $53M Budget

POTTSTOWN — Few changes were unveiled Thursday night when the school board’s finance committee met to review the proposed $53 million budget that would raise property taxes by 2.4 percent, or $65.70 per year, for the average property owners.

The 2.4 percent tax hike is the maximum allowed under the state’s Act 1 index without going to the voters for approval.

“There really are very minimal changes from the preliminary final budget you approved last month,” Business Manager Linda Adams told the finance committee Thursday night.

As with most budget deliberations, there was good news and bad news.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130615/NEWS01/130619437/pottstown-property-owners-facing-2-4-tax-hike-under-53m-budget

Deficit To Get Millions Worse In Future, Reading City Council Told

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

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

City Controller Christian Zale on Monday pressed his case, again, to City Council: Unless the city makes some drastic changes, it’s facing a $35 million cumulative deficit by 2017.

However, those changes can’t include bigger property tax hikes; Zale said his projection already assumes the city raises the property tax by 5 percent in each of the next four years.

But he said the tax increases cut the deficit by only $10 million.  Without them, the deficit rises to $45 million.

“Me being conservative, I tried to be as gloomy as I could,” Zale told council.  “And quite frankly, I don’t want to hear (that) we’ll approach that and try to solve it when that time comes.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=479276

Carlisle Residents Face Home-Rule Question: Primary Focus

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cumberland County

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

In Carlisle, Tuesday’s ballot won’t be just about filling the borough’s elective offices.

Residents are also being asked whether they want to embark on a study of home rule, the municipal equivalent of a constitutional convention.

Council voted in January to place a question on the May primary ballot asking whether a study commission should be formed to explore whether it makes sense for Carlisle to adopt its own charter for local government, and replace some of the current limitations imposed by the state’s borough code.

The issue got some legs after last year’s arrest of former borough tax collector George Hicks on drug charges, and a resulting examinations that found Hicks had done a shoddy job of record-keeping.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/05/carlisle_borough_residents_fac.html

Conrad Weiser OKs Tentative Budget With 0.54-Mill Tax Hike

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

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

The Conrad Weiser School Board approved its tentative 2013-14 budget Wednesday, but board members are considering lowering the proposed tax increase before the final vote in June.

The board voted 6-3 to approve the $42.7 million tentative budget with a 0.54-mill property tax increase, the maximum allowed under the state’s Act 1 index.

Board members Margaret G. Rumbaugh, Tammy Starner Wert and William T. Carl Jr. voted no, saying they preferred a 0.42-mill increase that would balance the budget but leave the district with a smaller financial cushion.

The 0.54-mill increase will generate about $110,000 more revenue than is needed to balance the budget, Director of Business Robin L. Robertson said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477499

Driver’s License, Registration Fees, Fines Would Rise Under State Senate Plan

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty, R-Montgomery, released a transportation funding plan on Tuesday.  Here are some details of how approximately $2.5 billion would be raised from tax, fee and fine increases and spent once the plan is fully phased in:

FEES

— Imposes $50.50 licensing fee for six years, instead of a $29.50 fee for four years

— Imposes $104 registration fee for two years, instead of a $36 fee annually

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/439181/Drivers-license-registration-fees-fines-would-rise-under-state-Senate-plan

Berks EIT Form Glitch Confuses Local Taxpayers

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

If you’ve been having a hard time getting the math to work out on your Berks Earned Income Tax form this year, you’re not alone.

Officials at the Berks EIT Bureau confirmed Thursday that there is a mix-up in some of the instructions on the 2012 tax form.

It has left some taxpayers perplexed as to why the form says they’re owed a refund when they thought they owed the bureau the amount.

The opposite also is true: Folks who thought they might get a refund are instead being told they owe it.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=468550

PPL Goes Before U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments from PPL Corp. and federal tax authorities in a case whose outcome could determine the fate of billions of dollars in corporate profits.

The dispute, two decades in the making, involves a British tax imposed on PPL of Allentown after it bought one of many businesses privatized by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

At issue, specifically, are U.S. tax breaks for companies that pay foreign taxes. U.S. multinationals and lawmakers are watching closely — not only because the Obama administration has taken a very public stance against such tax breaks, but also because the nine Supreme Court justices rarely hear tax cases.

“The IRS recognizes the stakes in this case are broader than this particular [British] tax,” said Dirk Suringa, a former Treasury official, now a partner at law firm Covington & Burling.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/mc-sumpreme-court-hears-ppl-case-20130220,0,3330844.story

Boyertown School Board OKs Preliminary Budget, Will Apply For Tax-Hike Exceptions

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

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

Boyertown School Board members voted 7-1 to adopt a $95.58 million preliminary budget for 2013-14, but not without airing concerns about tax hikes.

Before passing the preliminary budget Tuesday, the board voted 6-2 to pursue exceptions to exceed the state’s Act 1 index, which would otherwise cap the tax increase at 2.1 percent.

Ruth A. Dierolf and Joseph Nichols voted against pursuing exceptions, which would allow tax hikes as high as 3 percent and 2.4 percent in Berks and Montgomery counties, respectively.

The increases would raise annual taxes on properties assessed at $100,000 by $67 in Berks and by $55 in Montgomery.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=452502

Pennsylvania Gasoline Tax May Soon Be Highest In U.S.

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gov. Tom Corbett struck a populist note in this week’s budget address, saying lifting the Oil Company Franchise Tax cap would force oil and gas companies to “pay their fair share.” But the increase will likely be passed onto consumers at the pump and may make Pennsylvania gasoline the most heavily taxed in the nation.

As levied now, the tax is about 9 percent of the price of a gallon of gas, but calculated on a maximum price of $1.25 per gallon, yielding about 20.3 cents. By gradually lifting that cap over time to reflect actual gas prices – already more than double the cap – the amount of the tax paid per gallon could more than double.

Gov. Corbett tried to soften the blow by cutting another state tax on fuel, the excise tax, from 12 cents down to 10 cents.

That could be cold comfort for consumers.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/pa-gasoline-tax-may-soon-be-highest-in-u-s-1.1441386

Pittsburgh City Council Unanimously Approves Ravenstahl’s Property Tax Plan

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh City Council this morning unanimously approved Mayor Luke Ravenstahl‘s property tax proposal, which increases the homestead exemption and the low-income senior discount in addition to dropping the millage rate to comply with Pennsylvania law.

Although the rate will drop 30 percent — from 10.8 to 7.56 mills — the vast majority of homeowners will not see a corresponding drop in their taxes because of a reassessment that dramatically increased official home values.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-city-council-unanimously-approves-ravenstahls-property-tax-plan-672491/#ixzz2JPup3Jxn

Pottsgrove School District Mulls $61 Million Budget With 3.3% Tax Hike

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

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

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP— Facing a potential budget shortfall of $1.9 million, the Pottsgrove School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to advertise a proposed $60.9 million budget for the 2013-14 school year that would raise taxes by $155 for the average district homeowner.

However, those figures are unlikely to remain unchanged until June, when all final school budgets must be adopted.

The district is working under the constraints of Act 1, which requires a district to either declare it will not raise taxes above a state set index — as Pottstown did last month in committing to keep any tax increase at or below 2.4 percent — or advertise a preliminary budget.

The Pottsgrove board chose the second option, voting to advertise a preliminary budget presented publicly for the first time Tuesday night by Business Manager David Nester.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130125/NEWS01/130129618/pottsgrove-mulls-61-million-budget-with-3-3-tax-hike#full_story

Pittsburgh School Board OKs 30 Percent Drop In Tax Rate

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As required by state law because of an overall increase in property values, both Pittsburgh Public Schools and the city of Pittsburgh are on course to reduce property tax rates by about 30 percent for calendar 2013.

The school board Wednesday night unanimously approved reducing the rate from 13.92 mills to 9.65 mills.

Pittsburgh City Council Wednesday gave preliminary approval on a unanimous voice vote to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl‘s tax proposal that will drop the millage rate from 10.8 mills to 7.56 mills.  A final vote is set for Tuesday.

Whether the taxes of an individual property owner will go up depends on how the property fared in the countywide reassessment.  Overall, property values in the city went up 48 percent.  If the value of a particular property went up more than that, taxes will increase.  Taxes will decrease if the value went up less than that.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/pittsburgh-school-board-oks-30-drop-in-tax-rate-671734/#ixzz2Ix0Ud4So

Developer Of Old Armorcast Site Wants Big Tax Break From Daniel Boone School District

Now that the former Armorcast factory in Birdsboro is demolished, the property owner and developers are hoping to also clear the unpaid real estate taxes.

Steve Marshall, a lawyer for Meco Demolition Inc. of Bensalem, Bucks County, asked the Daniel Boone School Board this week to waive or reduce real estate taxes from 2007 to 2011 for the 91-acre property.  Unpaid taxes owed to the district total about $86,000.

Owner Gregory Flynn of Armorcast LP hired Meco to demolish the dilapidated factory, which produced steel for tanks during World War II.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=444662

Exeter School District Budget Could Mean 5.8 Percent Tax Increase

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

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

Faced with rising employee and charter school costs, Exeter School officials are preparing a preliminary budget for approval in February that raises taxes to the maximum amount allowed by the state.

The district is looking at raising taxes 1.7435 mills, to 31.8466 mills. The tax bill for a property assessed at $100,000 would increase about $175 to $3,185.

That would be a 5.8 percent increase. The state puts a 2.2 percent cap on district tax increases this year, but the district anticipates ceiling exceptions for pension, special education and construction costs.

The preliminary 2013-14 budget currently totals $67.83 million, about $5 million greater than this year’s. Among the reasons for the difference are $1.5 million in increased pension costs and $1.1 million in increased wage costs.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=444468

Corbett Expected To Seek Tax Hike For Transporation

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett is preparing to unveil a transportation plan funded primarily by nearly $2 billion a year in new taxes on gas stations, sources familiar with the plan told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The Republican governor, who pledged not to raise taxes when he ran for office, will announce the fine points of the long-awaited initiative next week, the sources told the AP on the condition they not be identified.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/Article.aspx?id=444192

Families In Berks County Now Must Learn To Manage A Tax Hike

The U.S. economy survived the plunge off the so-called fiscal cliff only to find itself in hot water.

A last-minute tax hike rescue by a reluctant Congress meant there was no room in the legislative lifeboat for addressing the debt-ceiling fix, spending cuts or the deficit.

An increase in wage taxes was ballast for the end of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

The biggest hit to Berks County residents and small-business owners comes in the form of the 2 percent wage-tax hike, which translates to a cost of about $1,000 for the average family.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=441562

Limerick Township Budget To Fund More Police

Location of Limerick Township in Montgomery County

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

LIMERICK — Township residents will see their taxes increase slightly this year as the board of supervisors voted to approve the proposed budget with no changes.

Although taxes will increase 25 percent, as they did in 2012, the raise is actually less than half a mill.  The rate went from 1.516 mills to 1.895, meaning a property in the township assessed at $150,000 would have a year-total tax increase of $56.85.

The $8,010,752 budget was approved 3-1 at a Dec. 18 meeting.  Thomas J. Neafcy Jr. was the sole vote against the budget. Kenneth J. Sperring Jr. was not at the meeting, according to township manager Dan Kerr.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130103/NEWS01/130109881/limerick-township-budget-to-fund-more-police#full_story

Senate Approves “Fiscal Cliff” Deal, Crisis Eased

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate moved the U.S. economy back from the edge of a “fiscal cliff” on Tuesday, voting to avoid imminent tax hikes and spending cuts in a bipartisan deal that could still face stiff challenges in the House of Representatives.

In a rare New Year’s session at around 2 a.m. EST (0700 GMT), senators voted 89-8 to raise some taxes on the wealthy while making permanent low tax rates on the middle class that have been in place for a decade.

But the measure did little to rein in huge annual budget deficits that have helped push the U.S. debt to $16.4 trillion.

The agreement came too late for Congress to meet its own deadline of New Year’s Eve for passing laws to halt $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts which strictly speaking came into force on Tuesday.

Read more:  http://www.nbr.com/news/story?id=tag%3Areuters.com%2C0000%3Anewsml_BRE8A80WV#.UOMJA-TAdcz