Property Tax Relief that Isn’t

The new property tax “relief” plan, Act 1, is already taking heat for not providing much relief – even for senior citizens, the group targetted for immediate relief – based on a report from the Revenue Department.

I am stunned by this – not that the plan offers little relief, the Commonwealth Foundation noted that here, here, and here – but that anyone would acknowledge it before the November election.

From Capitolwire (subscription):

State Revenue Department figures also confirm Swann’s claim that “15,000 to 20,000 poor senior citizen [homeowners] will get little or nothing from this supposed landmark bill.”

The state figures show that 13,754 homeowners and 1,476 renters are already at the current maximum state elderly property tax or rent refund level: $500 a year.

Those 15,230 poor senior citizens – whose program-eligible income is less than $15,000 a year – will get no increase next July until the still-birthing state slots program garners more than $400 million in annual revenues. Rendell says that could be next summer, many legislative insiders say it might not occur until 2009.

That group will be left without an increase, while many homeowners and renters making just a bit more or less will get significant increases, up to $150 a year, the state figures show.

Another 7,278 poor homeowners will get increases of $50 or less. Added to the other 15,230 seniors, Swann says that means 22,508 poor elderly Pennsylvanians “fell into a big loophole in a bad law that leaves too many poor elderly Pennsylvanians without the help this governor promised them.”