School board puts EIT on back burner

West Marlborough Township’s recent passage of a 0.5 percent earned income tax triggered a brief discussion among Unionville-Chadds Ford School District board members at their Aug. 13 work session.

Keith Knauss, director of the finance committee said the board doesn’t want to tackle the issue at the present time, especially since it was rejected a few years ago.

“The Board does not have enthusiasm to entertain a discussion of the pros and cons of an earned income tax as there is no support among school district voters to pass an earned income tax to partially fund the school district,” Knauss said. “A few years ago we had an earned income tax referendum in compliance with 2006 Pennsylvania Act 1 Taxpayer Relief Act.  The voters rejected earned income tax so there is little point in forming a new committee to study earned income tax.”

None of the board directors present at the work session were in favor of further discussion of an earned income tax study committee. However it was noted that four local townships — Newln, Pennsbury, Pocopson and West Marlboro — have enacted an earned income tax to partially fund these respective townships in conjunction with real estate property taxes.

Gov. Ed Rendell signed the Act 1 Taxpayer Relief Act into law on June 27, 2006. The bill mandated that school districts place a referendum question on the May 15, 2007 primary election ballot asking voters whether earned income or personal income taxes should be increased, or instituted for the purpose of reducing real estate taxes on qualified residential properties. All school districts in Pennsylvania, other than Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton, were required to place a referendum question on the ballot.   The board's EIT  Study Commission issued a report in December 2006 which can be found at http://www.ucfsd.org/boff/tsc_report.pdf

Across Pennsylvania, voters in the 2007 primary almost unanimously voted against the Act 1 referendum questions on the ballot.  Of the 498 Pennsylvania districts with ballot questions, voters in only four school districts approved the tax shift designed to provide homeowners with greater reductions in property taxes.  UCFSD voters rejected the EIT referendum by more than 1,200 votes.

Other business

The Aug. 27 school board meeting will be in the Unionville High School LGI room beginning at 7:30 p.m.    This meeting is open to district residents and the school board has scheduled time for resident comments.

About Jim Phreaner

After 41 years of auditing large NYSE global corporations, former IRS Agent Jim Phreaner was looking for a project in retirement with fewer regulations and more people. He joined the staff at Chadds Ford Live more than a year ago. James Edward “Jim” Phreaner, 64, died suddenly in his Birmingham Township home on Dec.17, 2012. Jim was a devoted husband, son, father, friend, and neighbor.

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