Case study: Centre Co. by the numbers

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March 17, 2015 – Rural counties in the state’s Northern Tier are not the only ones facing a real estate tax crunch as the result of a high proportion of state land. Take Centre County for an example.

Of Centre County’s total acreage (712,067), some 251,000 acres are tax-exempt because they’re owned by the state. Breakdown is: state forest, 157,069; state game lands, 84,952; state park land, 9.757. Additionally, some 330,686 acres are taxed at a fraction of their market value as a result of Pennsylvania Act 319 (“Clean & Green”), the Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act.

When those numbers are combined, some 82 percent of Centre’s County’s real estate is exempt from taxes or preferentially assessed. But that’s not the end of the story. A significant portion of the county’s remaining property is exempted from taxes because it’s owned by Penn State University, federal/state/local government, churches and other certified charitable organizations.

It is the firm position of the Pennsylvania State Land Tax Fairness Coalition that those relatively few property owners in Centre County who are not enrolled in Clean & Green should not be compelled to carry such a high proportion of the tax burden to support school districts, municipalities and the county government.

Look for future county-by-county case studies in our Latest News section.