(HARRISBURG) – – Legislation to reform the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) has been introduced by Senator John R. Gordner (R-27). Senator Gordner introduced Senate Bill 704 in response to inaccurate data forwarded by STEB to local school districts and municipalities. Because some of the STEB problems originated in area school districts, the bill is also co-sponsored by Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).
“Because of the Constitutional requirement for uniform taxation, it is necessary that locally assessed millage is equalized when entities, such as school districts, encompass municipalities in multiple counties. It is STEB’s responsibility to conduct this equalization on an annual basis,” said Senator Gordner.
In 2010, there were numerous cases throughout the state where STEB incorrectly determined market values within municipalities, resulting in wrong data in as many of 50 of the 89 school districts that require multi-county tax equalization. While some of these problems were caused by obsolete computer programs that are being replaced, Senator Gordner said some problems were caused by STEB staff and were not recognized by STEB Board members, who serve part-time and are private citizens appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
“I have been working with the STEB board members on legislation to help correct these deficiencies. My bill will add two members of the board consisting of the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Revenue or their designees,” Senator Gordner said.
“Additionally, the board will be required to hold a hearing at the request of any municipality or school district aggrieved by any finding and most importantly, the legislation will require the STEB board to immediately review any finding that shows market values increasing or decreasing by ten percent or more when compared to the previous year.”
Senate Bill 704 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.