Recognizing the deep impact the loss of gaming revenue from the closure of facilities like Presque Isle Downs & Casino would have on state funding for the homestead exemptions provided by local school districts to ease the property tax burden on homeowners, Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49) pushed for additional funding in the state budget package approved by the General Assembly on Thursday.
“The closure of gaming facilities by the COVID-19 pandemic meant Pennsylvania is looking at the loss of about half of the revenue that normally would be available to provide tax relief for homeowners,” Senator Laughlin said. “That would place a substantial burden on many families. In some cases, it would have been as much as nearly $175 for some local homeowners. I raised those concerns with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne (R-16) and pushed for the state to act to address that issue.”
A provision was subsequently added in House Bill 1083, which amends the state Fiscal Code, to protect property owners by authorizing the use of up to $300 million to help make up any potential shortfalls in state taxpayer relief payments created by the pandemic.
“I appreciate the efforts by Senator Browne and all of my colleagues in the General Assembly to pass the homestead exemption relief measure,” Senator Laughlin said. “Hopefully this fiscal crisis will end quickly and we restore all segments of the state economy, but at least this provision is in place to protect homeowners from seeing a massive increase in their property tax bills.”
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