City Controller Might Audit Incentives and Abatements

City Controller Might Audit Incentives and Abatements

At tomorrow’s City Council meeting there are two separate resolutions (here and here) instructing the City Controller to examine, through a performance audit, the City’s economic development incentives and abatements including the variations of the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Law (LERTA) and Tax Increment Finance (TIF) from January 1, 2007 forward, with a report to be delivered on all to City Council “…upon completion”.

The Controller has powers under the City’s Home Rule Charter to conduct performance audits and the purpose of the audits is to document “…the projected and catalogued value…” of the LERTA projects and TIF projects that the City has been involved in (both programs typically require cooperation from the Pittsburgh Public Schools and Allegheny County in order to abate/defer/redirect tax liability and incremental taxes, and there is involvement by the separate Urban Redevelopment Authority as the steering agent, but it is not clear if the Controller’s audit will just focus on City of Pittsburgh impact (the City Controller is also the Controller for the School District).  We wrote previously about an audit that the Controller’s office did on the impact of Sports and Exhibition Authority owned projects and their economic impact–even though this was a multi-government entity undertaking the charge from City Council was to examine what those projects meant for the City’s tax revenues.