RAMP Policy on Reassessment
Pennsylvania has no standardized system of assessing property value, thus processes vary widely from county to county. Within each county, assessment values vary from municipality to municipality. The financial burden of completing the current reassessment is approximately $11-12 million, and in 2002 the cost to Allegheny County taxpayers was approximately $30 million. These are high sums that only a handful of other Pennsylvania counties have had to bear.
While Adams, Bedford, Clinton, Luzerne, and Perry Counties have done a countywide reassessment since 2009, the counties surrounding Allegheny County are operating under the following base years:
- Beaver = 1982
- Butler = 1969
- Washington = 1985* (but under court order to undergo a reassessment)
- Westmoreland = 1972
RAMP supports revenue-neutral reassessments, and the fair, equitable, and uniform assessment of property on a statewide basis that is easily understood by the general public.
If property continues to be taxed in Pennsylvania, state legislators should take steps to consolidate the multitude of general assessment laws. A statewide assessment system, regulated by a uniformity office and with the ability to oversee the process of reassessment and enforce compliance, should be established. Pennsylvania should create a uniform and computerized mass assessment system for counties to utilize, and thereby not incurring dramatic and duplicative costs. Reassessment should occur on an annual basis that is revenue-neutral, allowing for millage increases and decreases in accordance with state law.
Development of funding alternatives for school districts, municipalities, and counties should be established and encouraged in order to reduce property taxes dollar for dollar. Taxing property is regressive and a deterrent for investment and home ownership. School districts and municipalities should include the assessed value of new construction in their millage formula and tax calculations, which would reduce property taxes and encourage development overall.
RAMP Supports the following
- Consolidation of assessment laws into a single statute while allowing for flexibility between the county classes.
- A fair and equitable assessment system that is easily understood by the general public.
- An assessment system regulated by the state through a uniformity office with the authority to oversee and enforce compliance.
- An assessment system utilizing the 100% pre-determined ratio.
- Adoption of a uniform and computerized mass assessment system.
- An annual assessment system that is initially revenue neutral, yet allows for tax increases and decreases.
- A standard of training and continuing education to be instituted for assessors, appeals board members, auxiliary boards and any other individual that deals with assessment.
- A standardized appeals process that is fair and equitable.
- The development of a funding mechanism, implemented and maintained by the state, whereby stakeholders (school districts, counties and municipalities) participate in the cost of reassessment in a proportionate manner.
*Passed by the RAMP Board of Directors on 01/19/12