Rock, Paper, Wettick
We have new gnashing over the apparent real estate assessment reprieve granted by the state to Washington County, but not equally for Allegheny. One of those Pennsylvania logic things I guess? So I am not a lawyer, but I am pretty sure Judge Wettick's opinion in all of this is based almost entirely on some equal protection clauses in the state constitution. So if a legislature passes a law attempting to preempt a judicial ruling based on the state constitution... who wins?
Still, as I pointed out last week, the current schedule so disclosed has Monday as the potential first day new values can be mailed out. So this story is all exquisite timing for us.
On this misconceived issue of how Allegheny County assessments will hurt it economically: What I looked at earlier in the year (post: "Groundhog will returneth") were the county by county rankings for real estate assessment accuracy as measured by the State Tax Equalization Board. So most all other counties do in fact fare worse than us when it comes to real estate assessment accuracy and fairness. Somehow this is a bad thing for us, and will be worse if we actually try and be fair and accurate.
Does it matter to our current or future economic growth as is oft claimed? No, of course not. Or, if it does, it may matter in the completely opposite way than people think. In fact, in some ways Allegheny County has been doing pretty well relative to it's neighborbors ever since it implemented its first in a generation reassessment in 2001... including and especially when it comes to inter-county migration within the region. Maybe our reassessment has some causal impact on all of that? Maybe our growth was inhibited by not implementing the 2005 reassessment? Can I back up either of those possibilities? No, but they make as much sense as claiming completely counterfactually that having Allegheny County implementing a reassessment will hurt it competitively.
Which is not to say there will not be a lot of individual unhappiness when the bills arrive. Lots of real estate appreciation for us over the last decade. The ultimate question is whether your tax bill goes up, but that is another question altogether. Won't be any lack of blog-fodder through the fall is all I can say.
Still: Groundhog Day in the Assessment Office. I'm still waiting for Ed Schoenenberger to pop up on radar, but he seems to have gone to ground more completely than even Bernardo Katz. Bernardo pops up in the ether from time to time, Interpol warrant or not. Ed has just vanished. I still wonder how the county ever found him in the first place.