Like the square root of negative one
So again, assuming that tax rates are reset as they must by law and that the revenue neutral rate is calculated based on the 58% increase in real estate values that has been reported in the news. I have shown my calculation that it means 65% of parcels will see a tax decrease in the city of Pittsburgh and that fewer than 25% will see a tax increase of 10% or more.
But numbers are boring. So here is what I am calculating for a map all of the residential parcels in the city of Pittsburgh that will see a tax increase of 10% or more. Each dot is a single parcel and only those with an estimated tax bill increasing under the new assessment by 10% or more are shown. Is the equivalent of a nominal assessment increase of 74% or more.
(note January 13: As some have noted, there are some points not plotting on the maps. I'm refining the maps and will be reposting and adding more. Maybe some neighborhood by neighborhood comparisons soon. It does not affect any of the distribution tabulations, i.e. the calculation of 65% looking at a tax decrease, etc.)
Lots to be taken from that map. Does anyone really disagree with dramatic price appreciation over a full decade in the places with the most concentrated potential assessment increases. South Side Flats, Lawrenceville, the edges of Highland Park and East Liberty, Mexican War streets. Kind of writes the story of redevelopment in the city of Pittsburgh we almost universally shout out as a positive story, except now when it comes to taxation. Funny that.
The alternative version of that map, one showing each parcel that can expect a tax decrease by 10% or more. That is the equivalent of a nominal increase in assessed value of 42% or less.
So those maps surprised me even and I checked a couple times, spot checked and rechecked and it sure checks out for me. Remember a green dot is a nominal assessment increase of 74% or greater for the first map, and everything including what may seem dramatic increases up to 42% are the red dots in the 2nd map. I've talked to innumerable homeowners in the city at this point, virtually all livid or scared. Yet in 90+% of the cases I have talked one on one about, when I learn their assessment increases it is for jumps well below 58%, most well under and likely to get a tax cut out of this, yet they just can't believe that.
Of course, it would be good if the county did this on their own so there would be no doubt. One thing going on is that the micro regions where taxes might increase are more concentrated than they appear and the density of those dots stack upon each other quite a bit, whereas the properties that will likely see a decrease are virtually everywhere, including within the areas where some properties will see increases.
Also for those still staring at the maps. The dots are probably too big in a sense and there are an awful lot of parcels in the city to squeeze in there. Earlier I showed that the ratio of parcels with taxes likely to go up vs those going down was 1:2. Realize here I am ignoring for the moments everything in the middle, with tax changes plus or minus 10 percent. The ratio of properties at the extremes here, greater than 10% change is more lopsided. So the number on the negative really outweigh the number on the positive extreme which mostly reflects just how low valued so many city parcels remain even after appreciation in some select neighborhoods. Put another way.. takes 10 $40K homes with 10% tax decreases to offset the revenue change from one $400K home (yes they exist in the city) with a 10% increase.
If you are still incredulous. Here is a factoid. With the base year 2002 assessments. 86% of all residential parcels in the city of Pittsburgh were valued under $100K. So if you are disagreeing because you are taking a personal sample of say 10 properties and they are all valued at over $100K, the probability that you have a random draw of residential parcels in the city of Pittsburgh is way too small to even be measured in nano-mills so you just can't extrapolate to anything city-wide.
You know.. I think I'm going to run those maps through a Fourier filter of some kind. I'm not sure anyone has studied gentrification that way.. well, Im sure someone has.