Large landowners have reduced property taxes, put the burden on local PA taxpayers

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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, March 26, 2018:

Large landowners are taking advantage of a law that was developed during the 1970s environmental awareness movement that allows them big discounts on property taxes.

Act 319, also known as Clean and Green, offered discounted property taxes to farms and other undeveloped tracts based on the idea it would keep them from selling the land to builders.

Originally meant for mom-and-pop farmers, Clean and Green is being used by millionaires with estates, golf courses, quarries and other non-agriculture businesses that qualify for its discount on property taxes. The discount results in lost revenue for schools, counties and municipalities that are ultimately paid by higher property tax bills for other people and businesses in the community.

The total amount of money the law provided in assessment discounts has sky-rocketed from $1.9 billion in 1994-95 to $16.7 billion in 2016-17, a 779% increase.

Joining Smart Talk on Monday are Riley Yates and Steve Esack, reporters for The Allentown Morning Call who wrote an in-depth article detailing the law: Clean and Green: Pennsylvania taxpayers pick up the tab left by large landowners

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Steve Esack, The Allentown Morning Call