Act 1: Part I – Tax Study Commission

Signed by the Governor on June 27, 2006, Act 1 (formerly known to some as “Son of Act 72”) places a number of requirements on Pennsylvania’s school districts, in an attempt to reform or alter the current system of property taxation.

In this first part of a multi-part series on the requirements of Act 1, I will consider the first requirement that Districts must meet – the appointment of a Local Tax Study Commission.

All School Districts must appoint a Local Tax Study Commission by September 14, 2006 by Board Resolution, at a public School Board meeting.   Discussion of who will be put on the Commission must be done in public.  A Tax Study Commission must be composed of either five, seven, or nine residents or taxpayers.   Thus, a taxpayer who is not a resident, such as an absentee landlord, would technically qualify for appointment.  

Importantly, the law provides that the Tax Study Commission must reflect the socioeconomic, age and occupational diversity of the School District.   Thus, it is recommended that, if the School Board advertises for individuals to show interest in such a Tax Study Commission, that individuals be requested to provide either a resume or a description of their background.    Only one member of the Tax Study Commission may be a School Board member, and the law provides that no other District officials or employees, or relatives of District officials or employees, can be members of the Tax Study Commission.    Andrews and Beard believes the term “relatives” will be interpreted as in the Ethics Act, that is, spouses, parents, children, brothers or sisters.

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