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Home Rule Study Commission – Home Rule – Myth vs. Reality

May 2, 2024 | Home Rule Study Commission

The content below is provided by the Home Rule Study Commission, not the City of Lancaster or the Sorace Administration. Learn more about the Home Rule Study Commission at https://www.cityoflancasterpa.gov/home-rule/.

Welcome to this edition of our Home Rule Study Commission blog, designed to keep City of Lancaster residents informed on the home rule study process.

Today we tackle common misconceptions about the Commission and our mission. 

Home Rule – Myth vs. Reality

Myth: the City of Lancaster Home Rule Study Commission was formed as a permanent body to oversee the City’s government. 
Reality: the City of Lancaster Home Rule Study Commission is a temporary body formed only to undergo the 18-month Home Rule Charter study and drafting process. The Commission will disband once its work is done.

Myth: the City’s charter can implement taxes that target tourists and commuters.
Reality: Even with a Home Rule Charter, the City can only implement taxes that are authorized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. That means the City’s charter cannot authorize a commuter tax, a drink tax, a City hotel tax or other taxes not allowed by state law. The City’s main four state-authorized taxes are property, wage, local services and realty transfer.  

Myth: the City of Lancaster Home Rule Study Commission will set tax rates in the charter.
Reality: the Commission does not set tax rates in the charter. Tax rates are determined annually by elected officials during the budget process.

You can read more about the process – including a FAQ – on the commission’s web page. Don’t forget to leave your comments on our feedback form. We want to hear from you!

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