22nd State Senate District
Property tax reform divides the two candidates running in the 22nd state Senate District. At the heart of the issue is Senate Bill 76, which calls for funding education by hiking the personal income tax rate from 3.07 to 4.95 percent, a 61 percent increase, and the state sales tax from 6 to 7 percent, a 17 percent increase. The proposal also would expand the sales tax to dozens of currently untaxed goods and services.
Incumbent Democratic state Sen. John Blake, who voted against the legislation in 2015, called it a “terrible tax policy” that would underfund schools and shift $3 billion in school property tax burden from businesses and corporations to residents.
His Republican challenger Frank Scavo, an Old Forge School director, argues the bill will create conditions conducive to business and job growth in the state. He said property tax elimination is his top priority. Eliminating the school taxes businesses and corporations pay will produce a business boom, creating new jobs and generating sufficient sales and personal income tax revenues to fund schools, he contends. For property owners, SB 76 will eliminate the lion’s share of property taxes Pennsylvanians pay and help keep seniors and those on fixed incomes from being taxed out of their homes, Scavo said.
The 22nd state Senate district includes all of Lackawanna County, as well as Pittston Twp. and Avoca, Dupont and Duryea boroughs in Luzerne County, and Barrett, Coolbaugh and Price townships in Monroe County. Legislators’ base annual salary is $87,180 this year; state senators serve four-year terms.
Here are the latest results in tonight’s race: