Yet... now with what may be the single biggest event in Allegheny County's multi-decade reassessment imbroglio, you sense a great sense of...... nothing? It's like the tree that falls in the woods. Was there even a thud? Are people burnt out from other economic news? Fearful of swine flu making property assessment irrelevant? Obsessed with Penguin fever for the moment? I really don't know.
Maybe everyone just does not know what happens next? Dan O. started out all but saying that he was going to defy the ruling. He seems to have realized his rhetoric was a bit over the top and has backed off quite a bit. No line in the sand being drawn. No doubt Allegheny County will be reassessing all properties soon. We can debate a bit whether it is for the 2010 calendar year or not, but progress will be made. Judge Wettick has spent more than a decade issuing ruling after ruling all telling the county it must implement a modern assessment system. Those orders have been thwarted by not one, not two, I really am not sure what the full count of politicians and bureaucrats, along the way. One thing is clear from the ruling issued by the state supreme court, the case is now back squarely in Judge Wettick's, now virtually unappealable, domain.
Maybe next week I'll address the question of who the winners and who the losers are in the reassessment that will come in due course. The short answer is that it's awfully complicated. Most everything I have heard from everyone guessing at an answer is at best incorrect. Each homeowner's future tax bill will depend not only on how her or his own property has appreciated (or depreciated in some cases), but will also depend on how all of their neighbors' values have changed as well. Even if we could deconstruct the county's (unused) reassessment data from 2005, that is still 4 years ago. Lots has gone on in both local and national real estate markets over that time.
Some news from beyond on the assessment decision:
From the Philadelphia Inquirer: County must reassess.
Legal Intelligencer: Allegheny Reassessments Invalid, Supreme Court Holds
Pocono Record: Pennsylvania Supreme Court puts Monroe County property valuations in question
Cumberland Sentinal: County officials study court decision on reassessment