In the future, Pittsburgh residents might have more of a say over their taxes. City Councilor Ricky Burgess (District 9) introduced legislation that will allow property tax raises to be put to a vote. If the legislation passes, it will force Allegheny County election officials to put a referendum in the May primary over whether voters want that authority.
Burgess says that by voting on tax increases directly, citizens will have more voice in the way officials present information. "It really gives us a chance to have policy decisions on whats the best way to move into the future, (or) if there are needed cuts in the budget, what's an equitable way of sharing that pain or making those cuts? So I think it leads to greater participation by the public."
He also says that other states that tried putting tax hikes to referenda have seen success in voters stepping up and accepting the raises in times of need. Burgess says, under this system, he expects Pittsburgh voters to accept higher taxes if real need ever arises.