Chris Briem pulls out the map above of tax payments by city neighborhood and notes that just a few rich neighborhoods will be pulling most of the weight (if voters approve):
Here is something we put up last year. Below is the actual property taxes collected by city neighborhood. There is an interactive version online as well if you want to study some of the smaller bubbles. What you see is first, the biggest single source of property tax revenues for the city come from Downtown, which is almost entirely commercial property. A lot of the newer residential property is mostly being abated anyway for now at least. Beyond that, most property tax collected is concentrated in just a handful of the 90 defined city neighborhoods. Folks in neighborhoods with the lowest values may not really notice. Neighborhoods with large percentages of their properties delinquent or otherwise not paying their property taxes probably have a lot of other issues that would displace much interest in whatever $$ this new tax will raise their bills. The net effect is that those that do vote will essentially be voing for whether others will pay a tax, not them. Not all that abnormal in a sense, but like many things Pittsburgh can be an extreme case given our circumstances.
Now that we've given your brain some exercise here's some more on the city's curious pension fund bailout scheme, this time from 3 Murky Rivers. The entire post is good reading, but here's just a bit:
I wish I could pay my mortgage this way.
Say I go into my bank and give them the following offer.
“Look I know I still owe about 80% of the debt I have with you and I know I haven’t been paying. And if things continue like this you are going to foreclose. But, hey, I have a plan to pay it. Over the next 25 years I will give you 50% of each paycheck I earn. If you do the math you will find that 50% of each check for 25 years adds up to exactly the amount of debt still outstanding. So with this promise of a plan, please call my debt paid and stop the foreclosure.”
Essentially I make good on my promise to pay, by offering another promise to pay.
(Briem, too, got into pension stuff again recently.)