School Board Resolves Not to Raise Taxes Above State Limit

Detailed budgets for the 2013-14 school year are being worked on now.

The Upper St. Clair School Board unanimously adopted Monday night a resolution not to go above the Act 1 tax index for the 2013-14 school year.

The Act 1 index for the next budget is .437 mills—or an increase of 1.7 percent.

The adopted resolution means the board will not request for any tax exemptions from the state this year.

When the board approved a tax hike last year, they agreed they would not raise taxes for the 2013-14 school year. A final decision will be made this summer.

DanielBosh January 31, 2013 at 02:33 AM
USC Lifer appears to be one of the few people here who understands how local government in Pennsylvania works. Local governments' power in this state is really restricted compared to those in other states. The reasons why are somewhat complex, but the bottom line is that a local school district doesn't really have a lot of flexibility when it comes to funding the public employees pension fund. They are obligated by state law to do it. And their only means of accomplishing that is by raising property taxes or drastically cutting essential municipal government services like snow removal, street repair, public libraries, police services, fire services, animal control services, trash removal, sewage treatment and schools. Anybody who honestly examines this complex issue will see that the problem has to be solved at the state level. If the state doesn't solve it, then your property taxes will continue to skyrocket and the most basic functions of government will suffer. So USC Lifer is absolutely correct. When your volunteer local government representatives have to repeatedly raise your (and their own) taxes it is because the career politicians in Harrisburg don't want to make the tough choices to solve the problem and they realize they can get off scot-free by doing nothing because people like Judy here will mindlessly blame their local officials instead of rightfully placing the blame on Harrisburg.
Oren Spiegler January 31, 2013 at 09:54 AM
There is plenty of blame to be placed on the General Assembly for failing to address the pension issue and other matters, but Mr. Bosh's post assumes that the only reason taxes are being raised again and again is pensions. That is not correct. The Board has overspent throughout the years on a host of fronts, including school renovations, sports programs, salaries, and benefits, and the level of salaries and benefits drives the amount that must now be paid for unrealistic pension promises. Additionally, last year's mammoth tax increase was enacted in order to provide a cushion for future liabilities, a practice which we have seen lead to an accelerated spending level. What the General Assembly should do is to eliminate the property tax in favor of another, less subjective and inequitable tax or taxes, an initiative for which various viable plans have been floated. Despite decades of "debate", it has not had the courage to do so.
Oren Spiegler January 31, 2013 at 10:28 AM
I would also note that in 2001, the General Assembly and "conservative" governor Tom Ridge accelerated the pension problem by hiking legislative pensions by a whopping 50%, and bringing along public school teachers and state employees for a 25% boost in order to deflect the flak that would otherwise have been directed at the greedy members for feathering their own nests. Upper Saint Clair's "conservative" House member and CPA John Maher, whose November 2012 Auditor General campaign signs are still posted on Banksville Road three months after the election, voted for the hike (as well as the 2005 middle of the night legislative pay grab). What type of conservatism does he practice? None of these pension hikes should have been enacted as the defined benefit plans in place at the time were generous, enabling an employee to retire after 35 years of service with approximately 70% of their highest year's salary. While state employees contributed at least 6.25% of their gross salaries to fund the enhanced pensions, Governors Ridge and Rendell and their General Assemblies provided little or no employer funding of them, bringing us to the current crisis. In eight years in office, Mr. Rendell, to my knowledge, did not ever mention the pension calamity let alone seek to address it in any way. Now the problem of at least a $44 billion shortfall is dumped into the lap of Tom Corbett with no easy answers. Does Governor Rendell feel any shame or remorse. It is not likely.
Duke January 31, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Robin - The only thing I can say positive after reading your post is Bill and Duke and Oren have escaped the bubble and are posting relevant facts that some mentally challenged individuals cannot comprehend!
Judy January 31, 2013 at 03:56 PM
To Daniel Bosch, I am totally aware of the pension mess that our legislature created. However, our school board also created a fiscal mess when for years they freely and continuously raised taxes for any and everything they wanted. And Oren is correct - last year's outrageous increase was to provide a surplus so they wouldn't "have" to raise taxes this year. Where is that surplus now? Yes, I blame our local school board for the mess they've made. Having to fund the PSERS is one thing; taxing us additionally for all the fluff they want is another.


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