The recommendation for a shift in school taxes is in, and the decision now rests in the hands of the Central Cambria school board.

The school district’s state-mandated tax study group wants to double the earned income tax rate, imposing an additional one-half percent to the current one-half percent.

The recommendation, made as part of the state’s Act 1 mandating some form of tax relief, was presented to the board last week.

Elected school directors now must decide whether to accept the recommendation.

The plan was explained by tax study Chairman William Ragley, who has cautioned that Act 1 will not actually decrease school taxes, but will shift the tax burden from one type of tax to another.

A consultant to the district predicts that the Central Cambria tax change would mean no overall savings for those earning $41,500 or more.

Instead, they would pay either the same or as much as $300 more in school taxes.

The biggest beneficiaries would be the 1,100 Central Cambria homeowners with annual income of less than $10,000. For them, the Act 1 tax shift would mean an annual savings of $100 to $368, the consultant said.

The tax study commission held a public hearing in November, then refined its recommendation and took it to the school board.

The next step is for the board to vote on placing it on the May primary election ballot.

Local school districts making such recommendations are just one step in the state Act 1 requirements.

In 2009, $1 billion from gaming – presumably from slot machines – will be used to provide dollar-for-dollar local tax cuts.

School boards will be required to seek voter approval for future tax increases that rise faster than an inflation index, except for specified exceptions.

Other Central Cambria tax study members included Toni-Renee Anderson, Pebble Bulvin-Albertelli, Jules Dill, Janet Hagerich, Joseph Inzana, Robert Lazor, John Letizia and Ronald Mastrine.

The school board disbanded the group after it presented its recommendation at the board meeting Dec. 4.

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