Property Assessment Dawn: Termination Shock and beyond
Folks will be chomping on this for days/weeks or longer, but clearly there is an immense amount of confusion over what it means. Realize that since Allegheny County did this last time, state law has made it much more difficult, not quite impossible, to have an asessment result in higher revenue collection by any level of government that uses property taxes. In other words, tax rates will be adjusted for all municipalities, school districts, and for the county itself. The only question is by how much.
By all accounts, property values in Allegheny County, and likely for the City of Pittsburgh, went up cumulatively by 50%. So whether your taxes go up depends solely on whether your property went up in value by more than 50% or less than 50%. The 50% is not the final number, just what the pols have thrown out there thus far. There is some more specific # that will be calculated, but I bet it is pretty close to 50%, at least for residential properties in the city of Pittsburgh.
So I have a hypothesis: In the city of Pittsburgh MORE residential properties will see their property taxes go DOWN than will see their property taxes go up.
That statement of course depends on a new tax rate being set close to what is notional revenue neutral rate would be. It is not saying half the properties in the city will be going down, but that more than half will see increases than by less than the city-wide average appreciation.
For the statisticians out there, or those who remember that statistics class way back when, it is all a question of skew. Lots of low value properties in the city likely saw less than average appreciation.. but the higher valued properties that likely saw appreciation I am just betting add up to some much bigger cumulative increased values. Got that? If I am right it works out that in sheer number of parcels, more will see tax decreases than will see tax increases. Put another way, the slower appreciating values are on average lower valued to begin with and so you need more of them to balance the higher valued properties that I am guessing appreciated by greater %'s.
If I am right.. it will be kind of interesting how the politics of this plays out. All the public rhetoric seems to be telling the average property owner that they should expect taxes to go up. What if that is the other way around? That more properties will see taxes to down? It is not saying there will not be some very angry people since there is going to be a distribution out there.. and a lot of people will be seeing assessment increases well in excess of the city average. I am betting those folks are likely to make themselves heard pretty clearly, while the majority that will save money will either be confused on this point, or just not know their taxes are going down until well into the future.