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Letter to the editor: Panther Valley shouldn’t raise taxes

I’m writing this letter in response to the Panther Valley School Board voting to raise the millage rate. Panther Valley’s median income is ranked 467 out of 499 school districts in Pennsylvania. Yet we’re taxed 10th highest.

Inflation affects everyone and it’s hard to feel sympathy for a district that wants to take money away from our basic needs while planning a new school construction project.

The Taxpayer Relief Act provides school districts the means to lower property taxes. The Dept of Education’s website states $1,118,722.82 is allocated to Panther Valley for the upcoming school year. Also “Local governments implementing homestead exclusions may not increase the millage rate on real estate to offset the revenue lost by the reduction in the tax base.”

Panther Valley has created a community of blight and rental properties by putting people out of their homes for a 500 dollar tax bill that was inflated to 3000 from excessive fees. Homes are bought at tax sales for investments and aren’t being maintained.

By investing in distress they sell the liens for approximately 60 cents on the dollar. The loan, interest and fees are paid by the delinquent homeowners. A big investor in this process is PLGIT. (Pennsylvania’s local government investment trust)

Local governments invest money into the trust and the trust purchases the liens. The district is paying multiple agencies to let them profit on the interest of government tax free bonds. On paper this resembles a Ponzi scheme. Agreeing to allocate future revenue to that debt makes economic growth as a desperation, not as a credible strategy for success.

The lack of transparency in this district is concerning. My right to know request was answered with silence and my appeal has earned condescending remarks.

Local tax enforcement by third party debt collectors and hedge funds exploit the hardships in communities, and extract their wealth and property. As a homeowner approaching retirement age, it’s concerning to see a district that values tax revenue more than the people that make up the community.

Holly Sharp