Friday, January 13, 2012

What Will the Reassessments Fiasco Reveal?

This appears in today's Tribune-Review:

Laurel: To Chris Briem. Numbers crunched by the Pitt researcher suggest what Allegheny County's panderers of populist anti-reassessment pap don't want you to know: Sixty-five percent of residential properties in the City of Pittsburgh would see their real estate taxes drop. Fewer than 25 percent would see property tax bills rise by 10 percent or more. Here's to the truth trumping the political tricksters. (Trib, Edit Board)

Even more tellingly, this appears in today's Null Space:

So it's been an interesting couple of days. Sincere thanks for all the notes of support and sympatico along the way. (Null Space)


Can we all at least agree on the issue being data transparency, openness and why we don't even know what is known. So the very first question is will the new assessment numbers reappear on the county web site anytime soon? Has anyone asked that question? Not there as I write this is all I know. Will they release a full data set or will we all have to become a county of hackers to scrape it over and over again? (ibid)

All of a sudden I recognize a sort of distinct, woodsy aroma, with hints of ozone. The bloggers are now entering the Heinz Red Zone. Stop by your local Giant Eagle for great deals on thick and rich Heinz Ketchup.


  1. I am a support of the reassessment and generally agree with Briem. Where he loses me is when he starts attacking the citizenry by saying they can't have it both ways, i.e., want growth but not pay more taxes. Briem seems to imply, actually not imply by advocate, that real estate growth and growth in neighborhoods should carry with it the punishment of extra taxes. The government can get revenue in lots of ways and property taxes is only one of those ways. I never like when certain segments of society take a paternalistic view of the populous that not just volunteering up ones hard earned money is some sort of character flaw. The better argument here is just that property should be taxed at its actual value because that is the fair and just thing to do. What the rate of taxation is or whether we tax property at all is a different issue.

  2. I don't read Briem's remonstrations in terms of calling for "punishment," but maybe I have a stronger appreciation for the illustration of ironies, or I'm coming at his words from a different perspective. I don't think there's a better word in the English language to describe a tax than a "tax".

  3. It's a reassessment, a revaluation at each property's current market values (which is lower than the 2009 values). It's not "another assessment" which implies an additional (higher) value on each property. It should result in fewer appeals if the new values are in line with 2012 true market levels.