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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.

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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