Letters to the editor January 19

Letters to the editor January 19

Unfair tax system

I cannot imagine a more poignant and moving letter than Jeffrey Lewin’s (“Food, meds, or taxes,” Jan. 5), a man who is a longtime disability retiree who left the labor market after a long and productive career in the public sector.

Mr. Lewin notes through his personal experience the cruel and heartless nature of one of the most inequitable levies, the property tax, a burden that is accentuated this year through the expensive, inequitable property reassessment, which is being forced on the region by a Common Pleas Court judge and the Supreme Court whose decisions are made in a vacuum with no regard for the panic, confusion and fear that they generate or for the unfairness of the levy that is imposed.

Even if subjective assessment values were largely accurate, which they are not, given that the “assessors” have no real estate market acumen and do not enter the home, this is a system that imposes a burden with no connection to the individual’s ability to pay. It is not fair nor will it ever be perceived as fair.

We would like to look to our highly compensated General Assembly members for help, but there are few profiles in courage there.  Those who represent areas of the state outside Allegheny County are not willing to substitute a more equitable levy for the albatross with which Allegheny County is saddled, and they would not dare insist on uniformity in assessments, as it would subject their constituents to the same horror that we southwestern Pennsylvanians are experiencing through their unwillingness to act.

I suppose if individuals such as Jeffrey Lewin find themselves on the street, it is simply collateral damage that must be inflicted as we burn the village to save it.  Is it any wonder that confidence in government and political apathy continue to metastasize?

Oren Spiegler

Upper St. Clair