When is a state representative's house a home?

Posted: March 28, 2014

ON PAPER, it may look like state Rep. Pam DeLissio moved back to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

That's the day DeLissio renounced a homestead exemption on a townhouse she has owned near Harrisburg since 2006, paying back the $341 in property taxes she had saved there in the last five years.

She also transferred her driver's license, car registration and insurance from there to her other home in Philadelphia.

The question now before a judge: Was that too little too late for DeLissio to stay on the May 20 primary-election ballot?

DeLissio, facing a challenge to her candidacy in Commonwealth Court, insisted yesterday that Philadelphia is her real home.

The Democrat is seeking a third two-year term in the 194th District, which stretches from East Falls to Roxborough.

A candidate for the state House must live in a district for one year before the general election.

When she applied in 2009 for the homestead exemption, DeLissio listed the Susquehanna Township townhouse as her "primary residence."

"There is no doubt in my mind that Philadelphia is and has been my permanent residence," DeLissio testified. "It's where I plant my garden every spring."

DeLissio's candidacy is challenged by voter Sean Stevens, who briefly ran against her in the primary but now is backing another Democrat, Dave Henderson.

DeLissio said she bought the townhouse because she previously ran a business in that area and was spending more than half her time there. She has owned a home 103 miles away, in the 194th District in Philadelphia, since 1997.

DeLissio testified that her federal, state and local payroll taxes are paid from her Philadelphia address. She dismissed the money saved on property taxes at her Susquehanna Township home as minimal but said her car insurance doubled when she switched it to her Philadelphia address.

Senior Judge Rochelle Friedman said she would rule on DeLissio's residency by early next week at the latest.

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout.com

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