PITTSBURGH, PA: Today, State Senator Jay Costa, Mayor Ed Gainey, and Representative Sara Innamorato gathered to call for the speedy passage of the Longtime Owner Occupant Tax Exemption Program (LOOP) in order to protect homeowners living in areas with rapidly increasing property tax rates. If passed, this legislation would allow Pittsburgh’s mayor and city council to freeze the property tax rates for people who have lived in homes they own for a certain period of time. 

“The people who built our communities belong in those communities, and we have the opportunity to deliver on that crucial value here in Pittsburgh,” said Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “As the costs of living rise, along with property taxes, it’s up to us to ensure that seniors and long-term members of our communities can afford to stay in the homes and neighborhoods they love.”

“I’m proud to support this important legislation that will help keep people in the houses they made into homes,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “Nobody should be pushed out of their neighborhood because of development and this legislation will help make sure people can continue to call their neighborhood home.”

As Pittsburgh continues to experience increased investment and development pressure in specific neighborhoods of the city, longtime owner occupants have been and will continue to be put at risk of being forced out of their homes due to rapid increases in property taxes.  Given rising living costs and constantly increasing tax burdens in areas where real property values have risen markedly as a consequence of the renovation of other deteriorating residences or the construction of new residences, coupled with the practical challenges for counties of the second class to implement such a program, the City of Pittsburgh is seeking amendments to the “First and Second Class County Property Tax Relief Act” to provide the same abilities to cities of the second class in order to allow longtime owner-occupants of residences to remain in peaceful possession of their homes.

“Bottom line: this is about protecting the people and families who have been here during the tough times while also welcoming new neighbors and new investment. It’s a win-win. It just takes the political will to get it done,” said Representative Sara Innamorato. “Establishing a LOOP would allow Pittsburgh to protect homeowners – from young working-class families to our seniors on fixed incomes – across the city from unaffordable property taxes, people who have been here for a long time and deserve to stay in the neighborhoods they’ve invested in. It’s one small step towards achieving equity in our governmental systems.”

Proposed changes to The First and Second Class County Property Tax Relief Act would involve:

  • Amending the title of the statute from “First and Second Class County Property Tax Relief Act” to “First and Second Class County and City Property Tax Relief Act”;
  • Amending occurrences of “counties of the first and second class” to read “counties and cities of the first and second class”;
  • Further discussion on whether any amendments to Section 4749.4(c) would be necessary; and
  • Amending Section 4749.5(c)(2) from “School districts and municipalities within a county of the second class may…” to read “School districts and municipalities within a county of the second class, including cities of the second class, may…”

Text of the legislation is accessible online here.

Footage of the press conference is available on his website, SenatorCosta.com. Downloadable photographs and video are available upon request.