The Voters’ Choice property tax referendum has been tabled 5-3 by City Council with the stated intention of it growing all moldy and cobwebby — which might be just as well, because it represented only one possible remedy for a devilish problem and a very indirect remedy at that.
According to info distributed by Councilman Burgess’s office, here are the city neighborhoods enjoying the top 5 average per-parcel tax breaks, due to inherent and presently exacerbated problems with property assessments. The methodology employed was to compare assessment values with sale prices. (I am awaiting background materials in an electronic format by which to better share the research.)
Shadyside: On average, under-taxed by $1073.70
Squirrel Hill North: On average, under-taxed by $1006.96
Point Breeze: On average, under-taxed by $962.61
Washington’s Landing: On average, under-taxed by $959.86
South Side Flats: On average, under-taxed by $901.71
And here are the 5 city neighborhoods paying more than their seeming fair share in property taxes, as compared with sale values.
Northview Heights: On average, over-taxed by $1,040.65
New Homestead: On average, over-taxed by $670.90
St. Clair: On average, over-taxed by $222.23
Fairywood: On average, over-taxed by $176.96
Homewood North: On average, over-taxed by $170.19
It seems like something especially aberrant is going on in Northview Heights and New Homestead. However and even at that, it shouldn’t take an economic demographer to point out that your average resident in Fairywood or Homewood North is probably impacted by improper $170 annual premiums at least as much as would the average Shadyside or North Squirrel Hill resident be impacted by a justifiable $1,000 correction.
Reportedly, several on City Council recommended that if voters want the power to sign off on any increase in the rate of property taxation (given these problems) then they can do so by organizing and collecting the several thousand signatures necessary to put it on the ballot their own selves. Which is a reasonable position, if Burgess’s proposed remedy to the problem just doesn’t strike your fancy.
But in the meanwhile, what are we going to do about this? Because ignoring the problem entirely would be unconscionable.
Can we at least begin by formally demanding that the County voluntarily assess properties every year, despite the fact the political class is then unjustifiably held “responsible” for voters’ homes appreciating in value? That would be a start. What else?
About 650 million people visit strip clubs each year — more than four times the combined number who attend professional basketball, baseball, football and hockey games, Levy said. (Trib, Rick Wills)
Is that 650 million persons or visits? Because some of those patrons probably visit more than once a year. And is that in America or worldwide? And was it impossible for the article to find a perspective not from within the actual adult entertainment industry? It seems like, I don’t know, kind of a fluff piece.
Clicking right along, Pittsburgh has been ranked by America’s premiere gay and lesbian magazine as the 5th “gayest” city in the nation. Their methodology is a bit befuddling, and then some, but hey a ranking is a ranking. (PghLesCorr)
Finally, this came over the wire just this very mid-day…
What was http://bit.ly/g6EAjA again?
Oh, right. Well, good to know the hot war rages on.