Friday, March 30, 2018

You go, Pennsylvania!

A Pennsylvania law that gives tax breaks to farms--and also golf courses and lavish private homes--is being criticized by the people who actually pay taxes.

Supporters say Clean and Green has helped shield millions of acres of farms and other pristine lands from being turned into strip malls, warehouses and Levittowns. The lowered assessments, they say, are a bargain compared to the expense of development and the strains it places on schools, roads and public services. Backers also insist that any problematic properties represent a tiny portion of the lands enrolled.

Under the program, qualifying properties — those with at least 10 contiguous acres or that generate $2,000 in farm sales annually — are assessed on what the land is worth as a working farm or woodlot, and not its value on the real estate market. State officials estimate that on average, that works out to a 50 percent reduction in assessment, though the numbers can be as dramatic as pennies on the dollar.

The hardest hit communities were in rural school districts such as Northwestern Lehigh and Bangor Area. Last week, the presidents of each school board said they support the tax breaks for farmers, but feel it is unfair to the average taxpayer to provide them to mansion owners with large estates.
“Somebody has found a loophole in my humble opinion,” said Bangor Area’s Michael Goffredo. “You just got a bargain somebody else isn’t getting.”
Like others, Northwestern Lehigh’s Willard Dellicker called Clean and Green a well-intentioned law producing unintended results.
“Some leniency is needed for farmers, but I don’t believe that we should be giving millionaires property tax reductions because they own 10 acres to get into Clean and Green,” Dellicker said.
Why do they want to prevent development of land that would lead to more young couples owning their own homes  and raising children who would attend local schools?  There's an erroneous belief in this country that the population is too large and that people should avoid having children.  In fact, the population is becoming grayer.  We need children and young people to support us old people who are on social security.  Also to power the factories, to invent and create and think new things.
  Look at Delaware--a potentially nice area of the country which is covered with hospitals, nursing homes, and senior living facilities.  Is that what we want?

  Nursing homes or schools, which do you prefer?  Because you can't have both.


Dick Stanley said...

Why can't you have both? At the least you could have jobs for the youth in the nursing homes.

miriam sawyer said...

Such youth as exist around here all work at nursing homes. Industry has fled the area, including the big one, DuPont.