Murrysville will wait on more-specific figures for earned income tax ordinance

Patrick Varine, The Tribune-Review, Greensburg
·2 min read

Apr. 8—Murrysville council will table a proposed ordinance that would allow it to raise its percentage of the earned income tax, citing confusion and misperception in discussions with residents.

"There's a lot of misinformation going around about what this ordinance does," Council President Dayne Dice said. "This ordinance would only enable council, at a later date, to raise the earned income tax by up to 0.5%."

Enabling legislation merely empowers a government body to take a specific action, as opposed to enacting a tax hike simply by its passage.

But Dice said he'd prefer to wait until staff can crunch the budget numbers and bring a more-specific figure to the public.

"I believe we can wait a few months, the budget process will begin, and then we can say, 'This is the exact percentage,'" Dice said. "We can then pass this enabling legislation, and then the tax increase, at the same time."

Council began a discussion about the earned income tax over the winter, in consideration of upcoming capital and equipment expenditures and what municipal Chief Administrator Jim Morrison called the sometimes-regressive nature of property-based taxes.

The municipality has not raised taxes at all since 2007 and, beginning in 2012, revenue from earned income tax began to exceed the collection of real estate taxes, Morrison said.

Council voted 6-0 to table the enabling ordinance. Councilman Loren Kase was not present.

"I think we've had a lot of good questions and comments from the public," Councilman Mac McKenna said, "and this allows some more time for that to come in. Plus, later, we'll be armed with information about what it will be."

Councilwoman Jamie Lee Korns agreed.

"I think we add some time, and it will also help with transparency, and that's never a bad thing," she said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@triblive.com or via Twitter .