134th Candidate John Reynard Admits Illegal Tax Exemption

134th District House candidate John Reynard, Democrat, learned he was wrongly benefiting from a Homestead Tax Exemption on home he owns in Bethlehem through a press release from GOP opponent Rep. Ryan Mackenzie.

134th District State House candidate John Reynard admits he has been benefiting from a Homestead Property Tax Exemption for which he isn’t really eligible on a property he owns in Bethlehem

The situation came to light following an accusation from the campaign of state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, the GOP candidate in the race.

Reynard, a Democrat, says he'll pay any back taxes he owes. He said the exemption comes to "a couple of hundred bucks."

Last week, Mackenzie leveled charges about Reynard's employment.

According to state law, the Homestead Exemption can only be used on properties that an owner actually lives in. Reynard rightfully applied for the exemption when he and his family lived in the Bethlehem home.

In 2009, the Reynards moved to Emmaus to live with and help care for Mrs. Reynard’s dying grandmother. Fast forward three years, and the Reynard family is still living in Emmaus and renting out the Bethlehem property.

In Northampton County, Homestead Exemptions automatically renew and it is up to the property owner to notify the county upon moving out so that the county knows the home no longer qualifies for the exemption. This is typically a non-issue when a home is sold and ownership is transferred.

In Reynard’s case, since he still owns the home, the burden was on him to have the exemption removed. Even though, at the time of his relocation to Bethlehem, Reynard filled out typical moving paperwork such as change of address forms with the post office, he says he simply forgot about the tax exemption.

“It wasn’t making a big difference in our taxes, to be honest,” Reynard said. “Just a couple of hundred bucks. I am not a career politician. Do I make mistakes? Absolutely.”

The illegal exemption was brought to light when Mackenzie distributed a press release and other documents to local media.

As soon as Reynard learned of the Mackenzie media release, he contacted the county tax office to have the exemption removed and find out how much he owes in back taxes and penalties. He said he is waiting for a tax bill from the county.

“I will pay what I owe, and that’s that,” he said. “I had no intent to defraud anyone. It sounds stupid, but that’s the truth.

“That’s my mistake and I will do what needs to be done to correct it,” Reynard said.

Mackenzie won a special election to fill the unexpired term of state Rep. Doug Reichley and is now competing for his first full term in office. Reichley is now a Lehigh County judge.

While the district skews Republican and Reynard's campaign doesn't even have a website yet, Mackenzie isn't taking the contest for granted and continues to criticize his challenger.

Reynard put forth his views on issues at a campaign forum Tuesday that Mackenzie did not attend.

The 134th House District includes parts of Emmaus, Upper Milford, Lower MacungieUpper MacungieSouth Whitehall and Salisbury townships.

Interested Observer September 21, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Now that Reynard admitted he took an illegal tax break, has he provided the proof about his job yet? I tend to believe Mackenzie more on that after this. Remember Reynard's proof for that question was "trust me, I called"? Well, I don't trust him anymore...and no one else in the 134th should either. I hope the reporter gets the proof from him on that as well.
Nic September 22, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Once again, the only thing more laughable than Mr. Reynard's egregious errors is how much (or little) he know about his opponent. As I understand it, Mackenzie doesn't pay property taxes because he rents an apartment, not because he lives with his parents. I also met Mr. Mackenzie once with a very nice, intelligent, and well-spoken young woman who, as it turns out, happens to be his girlfriend. Previously, Mr. Reynard demonstrated that he didn't even know the age of his opponent. This is just more of the same. Mr. Reynard, if "The Z man", "hot chick", and "tax payer" are you truth squad...you may want to higher a new staff. Unless, of course, they're all no one else than yourself.
Emily September 23, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Let's get this straight: 1) John Reynard accuses Ryan Mackenzie of being a part-selected campaign hack. Mackenzie was actually elected TWICE--once by primary voters and once by special election voters. Reynard was selected by party bosses to replace the candidate who actually won the primary. 2) John Reynard accuses Ryan Mackenzie of never paying property taxes. Mackenzie rents his apartment so he has no property taxes to pay (they are, honestly, most likely accounted for in his rent). Reynard is actually illegally receiving a tax credit on a home he uses for profit. You can't make this stuff up. You might as well bring in Joe Biden to speak for you at this point.
Jim October 02, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Nah nah nah nah poopoo. Grow up people look at the real issues. School education, voters rights, women's rights, higher education loans, medicare, etc. We all make mistakes nobody is perfect if he wanted to get rich off of taxes we wouldn't be talking a couple of hundred dollars we'd be talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. You critics are obviously going to vote Romney. Want to talk about tax evasion let's talk cayman Islands. Millions verses hundreds. Look at the policies. If Republicans have their way the 47 percent will will be paying more taxes so the rich can take advantage of more loopholes. Thanks to the Tea Party this is going to be a straight ticket election and all the soldiers will fall with their leader. The Democrats are winning the argument.
Jim October 02, 2012 at 01:59 PM
By the way you all got it wrong he actually owns a home know your candidate know your facts before you speak. Ryan is a personal family friend is a very nice guy but terrible policies. We can all be friends and debate our governing policy indifferences without dragging it through the mud. That goes for both sides.


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