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Reassessment Task Force Didn’t Do its Job According to Conservative Think Tank

A task force charged with looking at the property reassessment system statewide issued a report last week. While it included several recommendations, it also stated that "the six-month time frame did not allow a more in depth study of these very complicated issues…" The Allegheny Institute said the task force did not meet its mission.

"We're still no closer no closer to figuring out how to do property assessments in Pennsylvania than we were three years ago when the Supreme Court struck down the base year plan in Allegheny County," said Eric Montarti, senior policy analyst with the conservative think tank.

The two main goals of the task force were to develop a self-evaluation tool for counties to determine when a reassessment is warranted and to "recommend a standard to be used for a statewide mandatory reassessment time frame."

"What we looked at was some type of recommendation on a statewide solution in terms of how often you do the reassessments. They just said they couldn't come up with a one-size-fits-all because there's too many different property qualifications and types and classes in different counties," said Montarti.

But, he called that claim a red herring.

"We've seen that there's a lot of states that will obviously have the same things, where you have counties that are more rural in nature, that are going to be older, some are going to be built up, some are fast-growing, some have a lot industrial property, others have a lot of commercial property, some have neither, so obviously other states have found a way to do this," said Montarti.

In a statement, one of the legislators who created the task force, Jesse White (D-Washington/Allegheny/Beaver) said, "The Reassessment Task Force Report confirms what many of us have suspected all along, that the current reassessment system in Pennsylvania is a complete mess, but one that we now hope to get untangled once and for all."

The Allegheny Institute report brief said that if a solution can't be found in a timely manner, then counties should look into getting rid of property taxes and instead raise revenue through income tax, sales tax or other type of tax that everyone would pay.