Who Gets A Break On Property Taxes And Why?

Feb 4, 2019

Pittsburgh officials continue to discuss how to balance development and protect housing affordability, while legislation to do so has lingered in city council for more than a year.

An array of tools shapes how development happens. Both Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration and city councilors have focused on tax abatements, which lower the property tax owed to the city.

The last time Pittsburgh made any significant changes to the city’s abatement system was in 2007, said councilor Deb Gross.

“And obviously the city has changed a great deal,” she said. “The work in front of us is to really figure out what kinds of development do we need to incentivize.”

Mayoral chief of staff Dan Gilman said it’s more complex than originally thought.

“You really have to look at the entire array of affordable housing and business development and look at how your incentive packages actually get you where you want to go,” he said.

In June of 2017, the mayor’s office introduced legislation to streamline the abatement process and encourage retention or construction of affordable housing, among other objectives. Gross said they couldn’t vote on the bill without better understanding the impact of past abatements.

While City Controller Michael Lamb submitted abatement data to council last month, Gross said more analysis needs to be done.