Heads are shaking and hands are bring thrown up in confusion. Examinations by multiple sources are demonstrating that reassessments in the Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver for lower-value properties are facing a greater burden of property taxes than higher-value ones. The plaintiffs' attorneys for the original lawsuit before Judge Wettick, which the reassessment is supposed to remedy, are even publicly commenting on their concerns regarding fairness or disproportionate increases.
RAMP Government Affairs strongly encourages members take a few minutes to peruse this interesting article that probes potential inequities and phenomena: Allegheny County reassessment favors properties with higher prices, review finds
Keep in mind, a higher valuation does not necessarily mean higher property taxes. Let me pull out a few points he makes in this article:
University of Pittsburgh researcher Chris Briem of the University Center for Social and Urban Research concluded that many low-end property owners will see their tax bills cut even though their neighbors' properties may be assessed at more than recent sales prices. "Clearly the assessment has not eliminated inequity, but it is clearly a step toward a more equitable goal," he said. As millage drops, he said, owners of low-priced homes will benefit. "As much as they should? Of course not. But it is good for their own pocketbooks." The only way that assessments can really keep pace with market changes, he said, is if they are updated regularly. Instead, reassessments are typically done only when courts order it.
Want to look at the numbers, too? Click here for the Post-Gazette's chart on Assessments vs. Sales Price
An excellent companion to help you digest the near-daily media coverage on reassessment is to consider Chris Briem's own analysis. Click here for his blog entry, "Digging Into the Numbers"
to help digest what the Post-Gazette reported. You can bookmark his blog, Nullspace
, as an additional way to help you keep pace.
Your best bookmark of all is the new RAMP Reassessment Resources landing page, where you can check our regularly updated "Fiction vs. Fact" and our "Reassessment Toolbox" pdf's.
Along with RAMP's Policy Statement on Reassessment, it's a true value!