Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

WATCH: How outdated property assessments affect schools, roads, and more

by Spotlight PA Staff |

Houses on a street in Tyrone, Pennsylvania
Georgianna Sutherland / For Spotlight PA

Property taxes are a primary source of revenue for Pennsylvania’s more than 2,500 municipalities.

Various state and local regulations govern how this tax is levied by counties, municipalities, and school districts, but they do not mandate regular property assessment updates, which determine how much a property is worth.

Outdated property assessments affect schools, roads, and other quality-of-life issues, but local leaders may be reluctant to initiate reassessments. It's also a thorny issue for state lawmakers.

To unpack this issue and potential solutions, Spotlight PA held a free panel discussion on property reassessment, how it affects municipal budgets, and what it means for Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Our panelists were:

  • Min Xian, local accountability reporter, Spotlight PA

  • Eric Montarti, research director, Allegheny Institute for Public Policy

  • Patrick Tobin, director, Lackawanna County Assessment Office

  • Lisa Schaefer, executive director, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania

  • Sen. Wayne Fontana, Democratic state senator (Allegheny)

This event is part of Spotlight PA State College’s How Local Government Works series. The series focuses on issues and trends in Pennsylvania local governments and provides tools for readers to hold their local officials accountable.

» Spotlight PA’s events operate on a “pay-what-you-can” honor system. If you value this public-service event, pay it forward and contribute any amount to Spotlight PA now so we can keep our programming free for everyone: spotlightpa.org/donate.

Get the top news from across Pennsylvania, plus some fun and a puzzle, all in one free daily email newsletter.