An April 1st Report on County Finances

Faced with the prospect of reassessing every property in Allegheny County as a result of the Supreme Court decision, Allegheny County has decided to eliminate its property tax millage on January 1st. That will leave the County collecting the drink tax, the car rental tax, and a share of the RAD sales tax as its sole sources of tax revenues.

An unnamed County official said that he urges school districts and municipalities to do the same. "We thought about going the route of having a revenue-neutral assessment, but then decided it was best to eliminate the 4.69 millage rate altogether". The County will still assess property for purposes of allowing those school districts and municipalities that wish to levy property taxes, but the County would no longer do so. A printed reminder that the County will no longer levy property taxes is to be printed in bold on every tax bill.

New fees will be added, however, to make up for the $250 million or so lost from erasing the County’s property tax. Dog licenses, now ranging from $6.45 to $8.45 annually, will rise to $500 per year, regardless of whether the dog is spayed or neutered; a resident adult hunting license will rise from $20.70 to $1,000; small games of chance will now be known as "large games of chance" and will cost $10,000 for a one-time license; and renting a pavilion at one of the County parks will rise from $50 to $5,500, $7,500 if you would like to provide alcohol. No word yet if alcohol is poured at one of the County parks it will be subjected to the drink tax.

The effectiveness of the new fees will be assessed one year from today, the next April 1st, also known as April Fools Day.