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Pennsylvania Property Tax Reform

by Tom Branham, Washington D.C., January 2014


Pennsylvania lawmakers continue to study ways to change the way public schools are funded. As we reported last May, two proposals (Senate Bill 76 and House Bill 1189 ) seek to eliminate the school property tax and replace it with increased sales, use and income taxes. Both bills have been referred to finance committees for more study.


Meanwhile, the General Assembly recently passed three other property tax bills. Here's a rundown:


  • House Bill 388 gives Philadelphia additional authority to collect delinquent property taxes. It allows a tax lien to be placed against all real estate owned by a taxpayer in the Commonwealth. Then when the owner attempts to sell any of their property, the lien must be satisfied.

  • House Bill 390 allows Philadelphia to use a means test when deciding whether long-term owner occupants should receive a "gentrification tax break." It is meant to ensure that wealthy homeowners don't unfairly benefit from lower taxes.

  • House Bill 391 allows eligible Philadelphia homeowners an option to make their property tax payments in periodic installments.


Governor Tom Corbett signed all three bills into law.