"and all the folks agree that this is terrible"
Some people are now upset even thought hey clearly are in a range of having their taxes go down. So here is a verbatim pull from a story today:
Donna Query said she, too, will appeal the new assessment, which increased the value of her home along Chess Street in Mt. Washington by nearly 30 percent, from about $37,000 to $48,000."I don't know how they come up with these numbers," she saidSo that assessment went up by 30%. By all accounts city values went up on average much more than that. This person is looking at a big tax cut even if the city and school district merely come close to complying with the law. I would think the immediate question for her would be what she thought of the expected tax cut she should be getting. Probably why I am not a journalist.
I hate to pick on just that one article, they are all much the same expecially in omnimedia world. Irate taxpayer makes good copy I do realize, but hopefully not at the expense of the truth. And who in the world thinks any municipality or school district could get away with a back door tax increase out of this. The lawsuits would kill them if nothing else and eat up any potential revenue gain. .
OK.. still you worry, are upset or just plain confused. A primer on how this all works, direct from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and their Real Estate Assessment Process in Pennsylvania document. It has a good starting point on property taxes, assesments, anti-windfall statutes and assessment appeals.
Prior to 2004, the assessment laws31 contained provisions limiting the amount of real estate tax revenues that could be levied by a political subdivision32 in the year following a countywide reassessment or a change in the predetermined ratio. These provisions are commonly referred to as the “anti-windfall” provisions.
The laws required a political subdivision33 to reduce its millage rate so that the total amount of taxes levied on the properties in the year following a reassessment increased by no more than a specified percentage from the previous year.34
In 2004 and 2005, three bills were signed into law35 which changed the implementation of the anti-windfall procedures by political subdivisions. The assessment laws now require political subdivisions to follow a “two-step” process when increasing real property taxes by a percentage allowed by law following a countywide reassessment. The first step requires a political subdivision to establish a revenue-neutral millage rate.36 The second step is optional. By a separate vote, a political subdivision may institute a final tax rate that limits the total amount of taxes levied to no more than the maximum percentage increase permitted by the assessment laws.
In 2006, the Taxpayer Relief Act (Special Session Act 1)37 was enacted. Act 1 contains a new anti-windfall provision which applies school districts. Section 327 directs that after a countywide reassessment,38 a school district which, after July 1, 2006, for the first time levies its real estate taxes on that revised assessment or valuation must reduce its millage rate so that the total amount of taxes levied on the properties subsequent to the reassessment increases “less than or equal to the index for the preceding year.” Section 327 does not require the “two-step” process that exists in the current assessment laws.
(Emphasis added)This is all going to be painful.