ShareThis Page
Politics

Raja plan includes property assessment freeze for low-income seniors

| Friday, Oct. 21, 2011

Republican Allegheny County Executive candidate D. Raja said Thursday he wants to freeze property assessments for low-income seniors after the next reassessment -- a reassessment his Democratic opponent has said he'll block even if it means going to jail.

Married seniors making less than $31,500 a year and single seniors who make less than $23,500 a year would be able to shield themselves from county tax increases under Raja's plan, which is modeled on a similar law in Philadelphia. It would not affect school district or municipal property taxes, but would cap the county tax bill if the state were to force another reassessment.

When Fitzgerald was on County Council from 1999 through March, he supported enactment of the county law that cuts as much as 30 percent from low-income seniors' tax bills, his campaign said. He also wrote the county's homestead exemption, which knocks $15,000 off a home's assessed value.

The candidates sparred over environmental policies yesterday morning at a Downtown forum attended by about 50 young professionals.

Fitzgerald, 52, of Squirrel Hill criticized Raja's proposal to eliminate the drink tax, saying the $28 million in lost revenue would have to be made up with a property tax increase. He criticized Raja, 45, of Mt. Lebanon for not offering specific cuts to offset the lost revenue, and mocked his "secret plan" to cut the budget. Raja has said he has a plan to cut the budget but wants to bring it to county department heads before announcing specifics.

Raja accused Fitzgerald of "incompetence" for asserting the county budget can't be cut by $28 million. Raja noted that Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, a North Side Democrat, proposed a budget that cuts $38 million and doesn't raise property taxes, "something (Fitzgerald) says cannot be done."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.

click me