PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pennsylvania may take in more casino tax dollars than Nevada, but have you seen your school property taxes go down as promised?
“No, I’m not. Absolutely not,” said Robin Langlois of Peters.
“To tell you the truth, no,” added Charlene Miangolarra of Bethel Park.
This year, Pennsylvania’s school districts will get $612 million from the slots to reduce property taxes — on average about $200 per homeowner — but most say they never see it.
“What’s going on here?” KDKA money and politics editor Jon Delano asked Pat Sable, who has been business manager for three different school districts.
“What’s happening, Jon, is that money does come to them, but it’s in a behind-the-scenes sort of operation,” said Sable.
Sable says districts reduce your assessment equal to what the tax cut would be.
“The property owner doesn’t see it because they reduce the assessment on the tax bill, and a lot of tax bills go to mortgage companies so they never see a direct check.”
Sable says it’s the same amount as if you got a check from the Pa. Gaming Control Board. But what often happens is school districts raise taxes, thereby recapturing those gaming dollars.
“Always up, never down,” opined David Masquelier of McDonald.
“They ought to give us the tax break, instead of taking it back,” added Marilyn Harter of Bethel Park.
After he left office, Gov. Ed Rendell told KDKA’s Jon Delano that his first instinct was to send those checks directly to property owners. But he was convinced by others in the administration that it was too complicated and too expensive to go that way.
Now, of course, there are a lot of people who wished he had followed his first instinct to send a check directly to homeowners.