Mar 2012

The PLTA Opposition to PA House Bill 1877

By Marc Shaw



It is worth noting that earlier this month, PLTA’s President, Phil Janny, provided testimony opposing the Pennsylvania House Bill 1877

The purpose of the bill is to formalize the outsourcing of Tax Claim activities to private 3rd parties.  The problems with such an event would be the inevitable red tape that would be created in obtaining access to the amount of property tax owed on a given parcel.  Pennsylvania Title Insurance companies already struggle to obtain property tax certifications in a timely matter.  With 67 different counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and over 2,000 municipalities all with their own tax assessors, obtaining such certifications is already a tall task for a PA Title Company. Only a few of the assessors have their information made public via the web, the rest of the towns are very much antiquated in their deliverance of tax data.

The Pennsylvania Land Title Association is also concerned that such privatization will not only increase costs for property owners in tax claim, but will cut off their ability to communicate with representatives of their government about a critical issue effecting their property.

“House Bill 1877 is part of the continued attempt by private collection entities to benefit themselves financially and not in the best financial interest of the school districts and municipalities across the Commonwealth. I certainly will not get long winded, but the simple realtity is that in these current economic conditions constituens are struggling to effectively pay everyday expenses as well as their real estate tax bills.  House Bill 1877 would take control of the payment stream away from the tax claim bureaus and put tem into the hands of third party vendors. Constituents need a place to walk into and be able to meet with someone face to face, as they do now in the Tax Claim Bureaus, to address delinquent real estate taxes on tehir largest asset, as opposed to dealing with someon on the phone miles away. Should this process be turned over to third parties, the ability of constituents to go to their local courthouse will be taken away. We seek to have a government authority that can provide accurate tax records as our industry provides pennsylvania title insurance to ensure that those liens are paid and that the real estate is free and clear of all encumbrances and liens…”

A copy of Mr. Janny’s full testimony is available here.