news story of 2015 was the reassessment of county real estate
for tax purposes—the first such revaluation in 47 years. Estimated July 1 tax
bills for the county’s 48,000 taxable parcels sparked protests, appeals,
lawsuits, delays, and a record number of candidates for the November
county commissioner election.
It is a perennial local conflict
that has resisted statewide resolution for centuries.
On April 19, 2016, from 5:00–6:30
p.m. in the Ohio Room of the Hadley Union Building on the Indiana University
of Pennsylvania campus, the local conflict story will be reconsidered as a public
discussion about Pennsylvania’s property tax, for which reassessments are
conducted, primarily to pay for public schools.
The discussion will
feature experts on the property tax and on the many proposals to reform it in
Pennsylvania, dating from the 17th-century colonial period to 21st-century sessions of the General Assembly. The experts include:
The panel discussion will be
moderated by David Loomis, associate professor of journalism at Indiana
University of Pennsylvania. The framework for the symposium is knowledge-based
journalism, which aims to deepen public understanding of important issues in
the news and to facilitate solutions to public problems.
Background information, panelist
bios, policy papers, research, and proposed solutions for the problems
surrounding reassessment and property taxation will be curated on the website
of the IUP chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the Department
of Journalism and Public Relations at IUP. A video recording of the event,
shot by the IUP Communications
Media Department, will
be posted on the site following the event and will be aired on IUP-TV.
This free public event is
cosponsored by the IUP Journalism and Public
Relations Department, the IUP Political Science Department, the IUP chapter of the
Society of Professional Journalists, and the the Elizabeth Ray Sweeney Trust
The public is invited. A
question-and-answer period will follow summary remarks and discussion by
panelists. Microphones will be distributed to audience members who have
questions for panelists.