In recent months, Allegheny County property owners have been receiving new property assessments in the mail. You may have heard the screams.
On average, tax valuations increased by 35 percent countywide. And while the pain will be dulled when tax rates are cut — as they must be, under state law — many residents feel the process has been unfair. Some poorer communities have faced steeper increases than wealthier areas. When we last looked at numbers in January, for example, we were disturbed to see that many residents in Bloomfield faced bigger percentage hikes than Richard Scaife, the billionaire publisher of the Tribune-Review. Were the rich and powerful getting a break?
Now that all of the county's numbers are in, we took a look at some movers and shakers to see how they fared in the reassessment. Some of them took their lumps as well, but many others got off easy.
Of course, in a million-dollar home, even a 5 percent increase could be more than the value of an entire home in, say, Rankin. And since tax rates vary from one municipality to another, unless you live in Hampton Township, there's no point comparing yourself to UPMC head Jeffrey Romoff (as if you would dare). Still, you might feel better comparing your plight to that of celebrated Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, whose efforts to revitalize his community have resulted in the steepest percentage hike of any public figure we looked at. (Though the impact in actual dollars will be small, given Braddock's depressed prices.) A certain former U.S. senator and current presidential candidate, meanwhile, is likely to get a tax break ... while his long-suffering neighbors face increased values. Maybe God really is a Republican.