Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has responded to today's court order that the city go ahead with using new 2012 values to set its property tax rates for this year, saying the city needs a 1-year reprieve to get in line with the rest of the county, and that the court is spreading "panic and uncertainty."
Commercial valuations furthermore could "undermine all of the advances we have made to become recognized nationally and internationally as America's Most Livable City."
It's in full after the jump:
“It is time to stop the reassessment madness. This chaotic reassessment process has caused panic among homeowners, small business owners and all taxpayers, creating a widespread fear that people, especially seniors and those who can least afford it, will be taxed out of their homes. I am further disturbed that the process to date has unfairly targeted Pittsburgh home and business owners who have been given an extremely short, and now disrupted, window of time to appeal inaccurate reassessments. Additionally, the poor job that has been done on commercial reassessments threatens to undermine all of the advances we have made to become recognized nationally and internationally as America’s Most Livable City and one of the world’s best places to live and do business. Further, without knowing the final results of the appeals process until far later in the year, Pittsburgh faces uncertainty concerning how far to lower millage rates, adding more unpredictability.
The court’s order today, on the heels of yesterday’s announcements from Allegheny County, further spreads panic and uncertainty. Property owners are growing increasingly uncertain of what to do and how and when to do it, creating a sense of helplessness as they plan for their families’ futures.
I have communicated these concerns to the court. The 2011 assessment numbers must be used in 2012 and City residents and property owners must be provided with the same appeals processes and deadlines afforded to every other taxpayer of Allegheny County.
It is unfair that Allegheny County is treated differently from every other county in the Commonwealth. If we are to continue to grow jobs and population, we must have the same assessment process as every other county in Pennsylvania. I, along with local, county and state leaders, will advocate for the passage of state law that makes this process fair once and for all and protects homeowners and the Pittsburgh economy.
I will continue to fight for City residents and taxpayers by giving them the support they need to file appeals and lower their tax bills, but it is clear, for the sake of our residents, our businesses, local governments and our region, that this reassessment mess must come to an end.”