Beneficial tax shift

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The Nov. 17 editorial "Shame on Them" rightly praised city Councilman Bill Peduto's advocacy of signs identifying the 10 worst properties of landlords. Modification of Pittsburgh's real estate tax would be a more effective remedy.

Landlords desire maximum income. Tenants seek minimum cost. Both obey the law of supply and demand. The tax on the value of the building inhibits construction and maintenance. Landlords obtain tax relief if their buildings are decrepit.

Pittsburgh can and should enact a lower tax rate on buildings than on land. The same tax revenues would be obtained by a higher rate on the land that contains the building. The tax thereby would be lower for home-owners whose well-maintained house is on a small plot of land in a typical residential neighborhood.

Renters would benefit from the improved supply and quality of rentable buildings caused by this tax shift. Homeowners also would benefit from less tax penalty if they improve their houses.

HERBERT BARRY III
Oakland


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