A way to save some money
State law prohibits changing the compensation for tax collectors during their term, so the opportunity to do so arises once every four years, as their terms end. This is one of those years, and Feb. 15 is the deadline for counties, municipal governments and school districts to set compensation.
The Pennsylvania Economy League has done extensive research on tax collection costs and has found a wide array of compensation methods, many of them wasteful. The PEL recommends a flat salary rather than a percentage of taxes collected, per-bill charges or other methods. That makes sense since tax payments are required by law - collection is a procedural exercise.
Wage tax collection statewide has been converted to a new system, under which the number of collectors has been reduced from about 560 to just 69, saving more than $200 million a year in collection costs. The state Legislature should pass a similar law for property tax collection, setting rates, eliminating redundancy and saving even more money.