Lancaster Blog
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Lancaster County is Being Taxed to Death – a Breakdown of the Insanity

Lancaster County is Being Taxed to Death – a Breakdown of the Insanity

It’s time to fight back
By Trey 3,329 comments

The toll of taxes on people in Lancaster County – starting with the federal bite all the way down to township and school district property taxes – is absolutely outrageous. 

Citizens are taxed coming and going, on money they make and money they spend, on the land the stand on and just about everything to the air they breathe. In fact if you count taxes for environmental regulations, they are taxing the air you breathe.

All total, the typical working or middle-class homeowner in Lancaster County is paying almost 45% of their income in taxes. 

In the worst, most heavily taxed socialist countries in Europe, like France, Italy, Germany, etc, citizens are taxed at around 50%, and they at least get something in terms of services including free healthcare, free college, generous pensions, free child-care, better public transportation, toll-free roads, and more. This is not to suggest we want all these government programs in Pennsylvania – the point is just that Pennsylvanians are taxed at European-level rates, without getting any benefits for the general population as they get in Europe. 

It’s outrageous what is taken, compared to what the people of Lancaster get.

In fact, what Lancaster County citizens get for their taxes is usually some insane boondoggle. 

Everyone remembers the the 3,255-square-foot “pocket” park at 31-35 W. Lemon St., which cost taxpayers $750,000. That’s $230 per square foot for a park that is the size of a basketball court. Not included is the cost the parks authority incurred to relocate tenants displaced from two of the houses.

Or even more outrageous, the Eastern Lancaster County School District spent a whopping $2.4 million to demolish an existing boys’ and girls’ high school locker room to build a new “gender-neutral” changing facility for students, with no expenses spared – all because of one student who didn’t want to use locker facilities that matched his biological sex. 

It’s all so tiresome. 

The federal government takes its big bite right from your income. But that’s just the start. They take Social Security for a system that is a slush fund for the general budget, and which won’t even be there by the time most younger people retire, and Medicare withholding for a system that is well below par. 

Then comes the hungry bite of the Keystone State. Pennsylvania collects tax revenue from money you make in the form of a state-wide income tax, and then takes a bite from what you spend with its onerous a statewide sales tax.

Oh, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Pennsylvania residents also get hit with another round of local taxes on real estate, sales and income, on top of state taxes on those same items.

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are among the highest in the nation. A house in Pennsylvania valued at $204,900, the national median value as of 2018, the most recent year for which data are available, is paying $3,275 each year, far above the national average and the 9th highest rate in the United States.

On top of that, business owners pay a wide variety of state taxes on everything from payroll to real estate, capital gains to technology and transaction fees on top of transaction fees. Companies doing business in Pennsylvania are subject to corporate net income tax and corporate loans tax. In addition, Pennsylvania corporations must pay capital stock tax. This isn’t death by a thousand paper cuts – it’s death by a thousand machete cuts. 

Every dollar those businesses pay in taxes is a dollar they can’t spend on hiring people, raising employee wages and growing their business.

Then the townships and cities want to get their beaks wet with a slew of municipal taxes. Cities in Pennsylvania collect a Local Earned Income Tax on what people earn, 

But wait, there’s more. So much more.

The Local Services Tax is charged on all persons who work in Lancaster and earn more than $12,000 a year. The Local Services Tax is $52 per person, $47 of which is paid to the city and $5 of which is paid to the school district of residence.

So on top of all the taxes you pay in Lancaster County and Lancaster city, you pay another fee just for the privilege of living here. 

Oh, and the schools that most residents may never use or may never want to use given the state of their performance also take a cut. 

In the city of Lancaster, owners of real estate pay a property tax to the county, the city, and the school district. Each of these three taxing bodies has a different tax rate that is set by their respective elected officials. 

In Lancaster County, the property tax rate imposed by the school districts have almost doubled in just four years, owing to massively expensive construction projects that might – might – be of benefit to those with kids enrolled in county schools, but which every Lancaster resident must pay. 

Currently there are more than $365 million worth of major construction projects in the works at Lancaster County schools – though construction on all of them is temporarily on hold, and all are behind schedule.

All of this amounts to how the powers that be are sticking it to Lancaster County residents now. 

There are currently proposals in the state legislature for a whole slate of new taxes, including an outrageous proposed tax on ammo purchases and mandatory, expensive state licenses to buy ammunition. 

We’re getting taxed as much as citizens in socialist European countries, and not even getting a decent public transportation system for the trouble.

It’s just a wealth transfer from the working class and middle class to the unproductive and the to the pockets of the oligarchs that run government at every level. 

It’s time to do something about this. It’s time to speak out and say “No More!”