Still, the business manager said his job was to give the board options. ``I'm not promoting it or demoting it,'' he said.
Board members remained largely silent as Braun made his presentation.
In an interview yesterday, school board member Joseph Harris Sr. said he felt the board was mixed on the issue. A two-year board member, Harris was one of the members who asked Braun for the information.
``I'm getting to the point where I think [the earned-income tax] is the only alternative,'' said Harris. Nothing frustrated him more, he said, than having to cut the budget last year and raise taxes 28.7 mills.
School board member Mike Lombardo worries that a young family with two wage-earners would bear the brunt of an earned-income tax. ``It's inequitable,'' he said yesterday.
School board President Ruth Bell said yesterday that she needed more information.
Bensalem homeowners pay on average $1,780 in school taxes under a 329.6-mill tax rate.
Bensalem's property-tax base has declined steadily as businesses and homes win reassessment appeals. And little room remains for new development.
Braun said a 1-percent tax on the gross income of Bensalem workers and residents should ease the burden for senior citizens. Unlike the property-tax base, he said, a wage-tax base likely would continue to grow.
Roughly $3 million could be generated for the district in the first year of the tax, he estimated. But he emphasized that the income of Bensalem workers and residents had not been studied.
The school district would be entitled to all revenue from the tax the first year, but would have to split the revenue with the township in future years if the Township Council decided to stake its claim. Board members voiced concern that they would need to raise property taxes significantly in the second year of the earned-income tax to make up for revenue diverted to the township.