The T/E School District held its first meeting of the newly created Tax Study Group. Thank you to Ray Clarke for attending and providing Community Matters with his personal observations and comments. I spoke at length with Ray in regards to the meeting. Based on our conversation and Ray’s notes below, it looks like the Tax Study Group could use the assistance of a tax attorney. If there is someone living in Tredyffrin or Easttown with that expertise, perhaps they could offer their assistance in the school district’s EIT project.
Below are Ray Clarke’s comments from the Tax Study Group meeting:
The kick-off meeting for the TESD Tax Study Group (TSG) was held on Thursday. It was a long meeting, focused on bringing the TSG up to speed on basic district financial and demographic information. The TSG clearly has a long way to go, but at the end some organization emerged that leaves me hopeful for the outcome. I think it will be important that they formalize a way to get direct community input. Some observations:
- The TSG was supported by Art McDonnell and the same consultant from the PSBA that worked on the 2006 exercise. A majority of the Board was in the audience, plus Tredyffrin Supervisor Mike Heaberg and about half a dozen community members.
- The core of the meeting was a presentation of basic district data by the consultant. Hopefully the large binder will be a good reference, but more focus might have helped. Also, much of the data was dated and there were a disappointing number of mistakes – one important one alertly caught by Ed Stevens of the TSG. But, good info on the district’s personal income and assessed values, both trends and distribution, which will definitely be important factors in the analysis.
- My selection of good TE rules of thumb and factoids for armchair analysts (it was stated that the materials will be available on the TESD web site):
– $2.3 billion of personal income
– $5 billion of property assessment, distributed according to the 80/20 rule.
– Median household income for Tredyffrin ~$100,000, for Easttown ~$130,000
– 25% of the TE population under 18;
– 16% over 65 (both percentages higher in Eastown and lower in Tredyffrin).
– Huge bubble in earned and personal income in 2007 – up more than 30% over the previous year.
- TSG organization: William Mullin emerged as the organizing force.
- No meeting on September 29th; other meetings will last from 7 to 9:30pm. Possible final presentation to the community on November 3.
- The objective of the TSG was reinforced many times: to present a set of Pros and Cons to the Board for consideration. In my opinion the TSG will provide the greatest service if it ensures that the set is driven by data and analysis, not anecdote.
- One important area for up-to-date, authoritative data: what will be the impact of an EIT on Philadelphia workers? Can TE levy an EIT on those wages, or otherwise get any benefit (gaming revenues?). Under what conditions, and what are the (quantified) odds of those conditions applying? This will have an important impact on the possible revenues and the number of residents affected.