Local Tax Developments: "All Power Is Inherent in the People," BUT


In a recent case most interesting for its discussion of political powers "inherent in the people," the Commonwealth Court has upheld an en banc Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas decision invalidating the tax referendum requirement in the City of Lebanon's Home Rule Charter. The City had filed an action to invalidate the Charter provisions requiring a public referendum on any real estate tax increase of more than two mills. The Commonwealth Court agreed with the court below that the provision violated 53 Pa. C.S. § 2962(b) which "states that in home rule municipalities, the 'governing body shall not be subject to any limitation on the rates of taxation imposed upon residents.'"

The court rejected a taxpayer argument that the decision below violated Article I, Section 2 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which provides...

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