ShareThis Page
Pittsburgh tax hike’s message: Buyers, look elsewhere |

Pittsburgh tax hike’s message: Buyers, look elsewhere

| Friday, May 5, 2017 11:00 p.m
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle (Trib photo)

Basic economics dictates that when you tax something, you get less of it — which should make Pittsburgh’s proposed hike in its deed-transfer tax a non-starter.

City Councilmen Ricky Burgess and R. Daniel Lavelle proposed this 25 percent hike, from 4 to 5 percent of a property’s sale price. They expect it to generate $10 million annually that would repay $100 million that the Urban Redevelopment Authority would borrow to support “affordable housing” efforts.

Mr. Lavelle, a former real estate agent who should know better, thinks making homeownership less affordable for all somehow will enhance impoverished neighborhoods. But a higher deed-transfer tax will only discourage property purchases in the city.

“All this is going to do is drive people who are most interested in trying to stay in the city outside of the city,” says Charlene Haislip, Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh president. She adds: “It is going to turn away low- and moderate-income buyers, especially first-time buyers, whose biggest challenge is getting enough money for a down payment.”

What’s proposed confirms the impractical folly of taxing one’s way to prosperity — or to the fuzzily-defined “affordable housing” so desired by its supporters, including re-election-seeking Mayor Bill Peduto. Besides chasing families out of Pittsburgh, it will further fuel market-distorting, winner-picking government subsidies for favored “affordable housing” developers — at the expense of all buyers of Pittsburgh properties.

Categories: Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.