Monday, April 17, 2006

Lawmaker: Let $13,000 surcharge on new homes pay for schools

Here is a new idea. New ideas are worth talking about. NewsFlash - Lawmaker: Let $13,000 surcharge on new homes pay for schools Lawmaker: Let $13,000 surcharge on new homes pay for schools

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state lawmaker wants to tack a $13,000 fee onto new homes in some high-growth areas to help fund public schools.

The goal is to spread growth more evenly across the state and encourage the renewal of homes in older town centers, said Rep. Stephen Maitland, who introduced a bill proposing the surcharge this month.

The bill would let municipalities in six midstate counties impose the fee.

'Somebody builds 100 houses down the road, and my grandmother's taxes go up. It's not fair,' said Maitland, R-Adams. 'Here's a way to get cash in hand so if you have to build a new school, you're not automatically raising taxes on current residents.'

But real estate agents and builders say the fee would stifle growth in the state's relatively few boom areas.

Residents 'should be happy that they have something happening in their economy,' said Brad Elliott, president of the Pennsylvania Builders Association.

The average cost of a new home in the midstate area is about $276,000, according to Coldwell Banker.

The bill would apply to Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties but not to slower-growing Dauphin and Perry counties. The fee for a multifamily unit would be $15,500 or higher.

The bill would exempt farm and government construction and let officials waive fees for low-income housing and other projects deemed in the public interest.

Hearings could be held this summer.
I don't endorse the idea, but I'd love to speak at the hearing and get to know more of the details and reactions from others.

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