Allegheny County Council President is also begging the state to hold off on property tax reassessment.
So what are their arguments against reassessing?
Mr. Fitzgerald, D-Squirrel Hill, proposed a resolution that urges the Legislature to adopt a statewide moratorium on court-ordered reassessments and calls on new Gov. Tom Corbett, a Shaler homeowner, to support it.
1. Other counties don't have to reassess regularly, so why should Allegheny County? The State Supreme Court has come down in favor of regular reassessments as being the only fair method to calculate property tax. It's only a matter of time until fairness becomes the standard across the state. Why fight a losing battle? Why aren't our Legislators standing up and insisting that instead of a moratorium, the state forces regular reassessments for ALL counties? Then we wouldn't have to worry about unscrupulous folks fleeing the county for lower taxes, and we would be complying with the law.
2. Property re-assessments simply generate a windfall for local governments as property values overall tend to increase over time. Another bullshit argument. County Council member/scofflaw Chuck McCullough has introduced legislation to "soften the blow" of Property Tax reassessments by generating a "bill of rights" for property owners which would prevent egregious assessment appeals and phase in any tax increases. I say take it a step further and force municipalities to lower their millage rates to keep the total revenue stream consistent over time. It's very simple math.
3. And the most ridiculous?
As Mr. Onorato did last week, Mr. Fitzgerald said he doubted that a reassessment would bring tax relief to homeowners in struggling communities. If property values go down in a neighborhood, he said, a school district may have to raise millage to compensate.
Why all this anger about property reassessments?
Because people who live in expensive houses in this county are being systematically under-taxed. Find me one house in Allegheny County that costs more than $200,000 and is being assessed for anywhere near its value, and I will be shocked. Yet every single house on the City of Pittsburgh chopping block is being sold at significantly less than its assessed value (often about 10% of its assessed value). All of these houses are in "struggling" neighborhoods. As a matter of disclosure, I am in the former group; though my house cost significantly less than $200,000, it has a street value of significantly more than my assessed value.
So why do I care?
Because the success of the city relies on the success of all its neighborhoods. As long as the status quo remains, then our poorer neighborhoods will continue their everlasting decline and the schism between the haves and the have-nots will only increase in the city creating more and more friction and violence. Let's put a halt to widening the schism based on unfair practices. Let's vote for people who stand up for equal rights even when their pocketbooks are on the line.