Local Tax Reform

The Pennsylvania Chamber supports local tax policy that promotes a competitive business climate and efforts at the state level that encourage local taxing authorities to continually pursue this objective, including the following:

  • Supporting the elimination of business privilege and mercantile taxes;
  • Until such time that these local taxes are eliminated, applying a consistent and uniform treatment of apportionment and a standard of nexus to business privilege and mercantile taxes;
  • Prohibiting expansion of local sales tax;
  • Prohibiting contingency fees for local tax auditors.

Counties are tasked with assessing property values and approach this responsibility in a variety of ways. The PA Chamber supports assessment reform that provides clear, consistent and standardized assessment standards, including periodic, mandatory reassessment. One particular area of concern is the growing trend of some local taxing authorities evading the prohibition on spot property assessments by simply filing appeals. This practice often targets businesses, which can experience unpredictable property tax increases as a result. The PA Chamber supports prohibiting spot appeals except under specific, legitimate circumstances.

The PA Chamber appreciates and shares concerns related to rising property taxes and believes state legislation that seeks to reduce property taxes should:

  • Focus on mandates and cost-drivers that precipitate efforts to increase revenue;
  • Place reasonable limits on local governments’ ability to raise taxes and increase or create new fees;
  • Provide tax reductions that are proportionate to a property’s assessed value;
  • Treat properties uniformly;
  • Establish no new state or local business taxes;
  • Not expand or increase any state or local business taxes; and
  • Use state bases and definitions for any taxes that will be authorized for local taxing authorities.