My grandparents lost everything they had to the Nazis, including their home. Am I going to lose my home to Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh?
I was employed at the Division of Computer Services of Allegheny County for 23 years. As a senior analyst/programmer, I was responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of all Allegheny County land systems, including the comparable sales search system and the computer-assisted mass assessment system, so I am knowledgeable with respect to property tax systems.
In 1996, I retired due to multiple disabilities. It took me 45 years to realize the American Dream when, in 1987, I purchased my home. I thought I would live there for the rest of my life and be able to leave my home to my children.
The Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh property tax laws are slowly forcing me out, as I am living on a fixed income.
When individuals are faced with necessity of choosing between paying property taxes, supplemental medical insurance and food each month, it is illegal and unconstitutional. Life is definitely threatened if one cannot afford to pay for medical care or food as a result of a taxation policy that is not based on the individual’s ability to pay, but instead on the value of the home in which they live.
I am blind, but it appears that our state and local representatives have lost sight of the problem. Some believe that increased taxation on property market values should occur every two or three years, but this does nothing for us on fixed incomes; we’ll still be at the same income level three years from now. Some Pittsburgh representatives believe that reducing the city millage will solve the problem, but this reduction is only applicable to city taxes and not county and school taxes.
Incidentally, it is the school district tax that is the back breaker; it is more than three times greater than the other two.
Keeping in mind our constitutional right to happiness, show me a happy homeowner who has spent his entire life paying his fair share, raising a family, retired, expecting to live out his golden years in his own home only to be forced out because of an unfair, oppressive property tax law.
The Men’s Club of New Light Congregation is pleased that The Jewish Chronicle covered the Dec.18 bus tour of Historic Jewish Pittsburgh, including a photograph of one of its high points (“Kether Torah revisited,” Dec. 22). However, we wish to address an erroneous statement in the article that reports the event was co-sponsored by New Light Congregation and the Young People’s Synagogue. There were no co-sponsors. The Men’s Club of New Light Congregation was the sole sponsor.
Members of the Men’s Club prepared and distributed publicity, accepted reservations and payments, and maintained a continuously updated list of bus passengers with their contact information. A waiting list had to be added after the number of people interested in the tour exceeded bus capacity. The Men’s Club of New Light Congregation chartered and paid for the bus, as well as for all other expenses related to the tour.
Charles A. Honigsberg
(The author is treasurer of the Men’s Club of New Light Congregation.)