A Roll Call of Local Taxes

"Tax Freedom Day", an illustrative construct created by the Tax Foundation, is the calendar date on which the typical taxpayer has "…earned enough money to pay this year’s tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels". This year it was April 12th nationally; given the variance of income taxes (flat, progressive, or not levied), sales taxes (statewide, local option, or both, and what type of exemptions), corporate taxes, etc. at the state and local levels freedom comes at various points in the 50 states. This year Pennsylvania’s is today (April 14th); not as early as Mississippi (March 26th) but not as late as Connecticut (May 2nd).

How long local residents have to work to pay for local taxes in Allegheny County is a discussion for another day after rigorous data collection. Suffice to say it is quite easy to collect the information on rates and types of taxes for governing bodies in the County. Here is what the three biggest general purpose governments-Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Public Schools-levy.

  • Allegheny County-Real Estate, Alcohol, Car Rental, Hotel ($300 million in 2011)
  • City of Pittsburgh-Real Estate, Wage, Parking, Payroll Preparation, Local Services, Amusement, and Realty Transfer ($314 million in 2011)
  • Pittsburgh Public Schools-Real Estate, Wage, Realty Transfer ($265 million in 2011)

Both the County and the City (along with all municipalities in Allegheny County) partake in the revenue from the Regional Asset District sales tax (1%). The City is counting on $11 million this year and the County for $40 million. This does not count the funding that goes directly to assets that receive support from the tax or have debt repaid by the tax.