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Essential Pittsburgh: The Hurdles of Housing Vouchers & Plans For Property Tax Relief

Zach Morris

The city provides Pittsburgh residents with the opportunity to apply for housing vouchers that can place them with attentive landlords, safe structures and affordable rent. However, when landlords become hesitant to accept the vouchers, or standards for housing become overwhelming, are the vouchers being utilized to their fullest value? David Weber, Chief Operations Officer at the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, joins us to explain the voucher program's successes and shortcomings.

Weber explains several hurdles needed to be cleared for the housing vouchers to be successful:

"There are three obstacles: one is a unit that will pass the physical inspection... the second is a landlord who's willing to participate in the program because there are some additional administrative things the landlord, as well as the tenant, have to do, and the third is finding a unit where the rent is within the standard that HUD sets that we're allowed to pay for a unit." - David Weber

Competing for Tax Relief (starts at 19:05)

Pennsylvania legislators of both parties are pushing for property tax relief, but their plans differ when it comes to the details, especially in terms of which taxpayers will get the most relief and how the relief will be funded. Public Source reporter Eric Holmberg joins us to talk about the competing tax plans being advanced by Governor Tom Wolf and by Republicans in the state House and considers what a compromise might look like.  

Holmberg explains how Governor Tom Wolf justifies the idea that his plan will be overly costly to many residents:

"If you look at a single person's total tax bill, most of the taxes that they pay are going to be property taxes, assuming that they are a homeowner. So if you take a great cut to property taxes and then increase sales taxes, we found that most people under Governor Wolf's plan are going to pay slightly less because the cuts to property taxes are going to be so great." -Eric Holmberg

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here

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