FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Frank Burns
Burns wins property tax relief fight in state House
HARRISBURG, Dec. 7 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria/Somerset, said the state House on Monday unanimously passed legislation which included his measure to ensure that table game revenues go directly to tax relief.
In October, the House unanimously approved an amendment to H.B. 2009 authored by Burns to provide property tax relief through table games revenue. While H.B. 2009 provides for several other gaming reform measures, the original bill did not provide any additional funding for property tax relief.
Burns' amendment would automatically direct table game revenues to the Property Tax Relief Fund beginning next year. Under current law, these revenues are deposited in the state’s General Fund until the balance in the Rainy Day Fund exceeds $750 million.
Under that formula, Burns said, it is possible to postpone the transfer of table game revenues to property tax relief indefinitely by keeping the Rainy Day Fund balance low.
"That’s exactly what has been happening under the current administration," he said. "The governor is holding a $500 million surplus in the state General Fund. By not transferring this money to the Rainy Day Fund, he is effectively holding up additional property tax relief for thousands of Pennsylvania homeowners.
"My amendment would prevent this administration, or any future administration, from holding property tax relief money hostage."
Burns was able to add his amendment to H.B. 2009 in October, but Republican House leaders held up a final vote on the entire bill after the amendment was added.
"I refused to back down on this issue, and attached my amendment to every gaming-related bill that came up before the House," Burns said. "I think Republican leaders finally realized this week that they had no choice, and had to allow House Bill 2009, with my property tax relief amendment, to move forward for a final vote. When that happened, both Democrats and Republicans passed the bill unanimously.
"This week’s House vote takes us one step closer to providing a significant new source of revenue to support homeowner property tax relief in Pennsylvania."
Burns said adding table game revenues to the Property Tax Relief Fund would provide approximately an additional $100 million a year for homeowner property tax relief.
House Bill 2009, with Burns’ property tax relief amendment, now moves to the Senate for consideration.