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Lehigh County Homeowners to Get Tax Cut and Credit in 2013

Lehigh County Executive Bill Hansell's budget compromise stands when a veto override falls short.

 

The average homeowner in Lehigh County will pay $44 less in taxes in 2013 than they do this year, under a county budget that includes both a tax cut next year and a tax credit.

Under the budget, county spending will be cut by $3.5 million next year, taxes reduced by $3 million and tax credits given that amount to $3.5 million, said Tom Muller, the county's director of administration.

The spending and tax cuts are the result of a lengthy budget process that resulted in Lehigh County Executive Bill Hansell offering a compromise budget that withstood a possible veto override Wednesday night by Lehigh County Commissioners.

Muller said the average tax bill, for a home valued at $178,000, will be reduced to $670 from $714. Those with homes valued higher will see more savings, and those with homes valued lower will see less, he said.

Hansell's original budget proposal provided $6.5 million in tax credits to homeowners but kept the tax rate the same.

Then, a Republican faction on the Board of Commissioners passed budget amendments that called for $5 million in spending cuts, $1.5 million in tax credits and a 4.8 percent cut in the tax rate.

Hansell, a Democrat, argued the Republican-added budget amendments could not be achieved or sustained, and using his line-item veto power earlier this month, he offered the budget compromise, according to a report in The Morning Call.

Muller said all three plans would have resulted in an average $44 savings for taxpayers.

A supermajority of the board -- six of nine commissioners -- would have been needed to override Hansell's veto of the budget amendments.

At Wednesday's commissioners' meeting, the bloc of five Republicans who wanted deeper cuts and a smaller tax credit — Scott Ott, Vic Mazziotti, Lisa Scheller, Michael Schware and Tom Creighton — voted for a veto override, according to The Morning Call and the Express-Times. Republicans Brad Osborne and Percy Dougherty, and Democrats Dan McCarthy and David Jones supported the compromise budget.

John November 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM
First, kudos to the County Commissioners for making an attempt to lower taxes. Unfortunately after getting hammered by a 3.6% increase by our gutless school board...$44 just doesn't sound so good. Why is it that reductions come out as dollars, but raises are presented in percentages? And why are reductions equally across the board, here raises are done based upon percentage of taxation? $44 equals @ .012. Somehow that just doesn't seem as exciting as the 3.6% increase on @ $8300 this year in school taxes. That's $385 increase, and $44 decrease......but that's using old math.
David Carnwath November 16, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I'd like to hear more about the proposal to finance the schools using the sales tax. I just can't understand how the schools are going to manage by taxing homeowners out of their homes at a time in their lives when they are trying to get by on their retirement incomes. It seems like a nice place to live here in the Valley, but owning your own home is surely not a wise investment to my way of thinking.
Glenn November 16, 2012 at 08:30 PM
god bless Brad Osborne and Percy Dougherty
Janet Persing November 17, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Wait for your county tax bill, then do the math.
resident December 09, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Nice
Judy Johnson December 10, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I love our home, we have done a lot of work on it. I like living in Emmaus. I am retired, my husband is still working. When he retires , we will sell. We are just being priced out of the community by the taxes.

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