Voters Choose To Create Tax To Help Sustain Carnegie Library

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Voters overwhelmingly approved a property tax increase to benefit the Carnegie Library System in Tuesday’s election.

The referendum passed with a staggering 71 percent of the vote.

Starting next year, the property tax increase will go into effect to help fund the Carnegie Library System.

The library started initiatives over the summer to raise awareness about the need for financial assistance.

Through their efforts, they received 11,000 signatures to get the tax increase referendum on the ballot.

For those in the city, it will equate to about $25 a year or $2 a month on a property assessed at $100,000.

City Councilman Patrrick Dowd, the co-chair of the library’s Joint-Committee on Sustainable Funding, said it is a great victory and shows that there is a demand and a desire for libraries.

“We had hundreds of volunteers. This goes back into the spring and the early summer when we had hundreds of people out circulating petitions. We had almost 11,000 people sign to get this question on the ballot. I don’t know what the exact vote totals are at this point, but there are probably tens of thousands of people that voted ‘yes,’” Dowd said.

The property tax increase is expected to bring in about $3 million dollars for the library system.


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  • Jeff Becker

    Since the tax only effects property owners then property owners are the only one’s who should be allowed to vote. Libraries will become a thing of the past soon. With the access to the internet becoming more and more common, there will be little need for libraries. Everything a person could possibly need is on the internet. Kids can use school libraries if needed, old people will eventually die off and the next generation of seniors are becoming more computer literate everyday. More and more peole will have smart phones to access information. Unfortunately Libraries are becoming an out dated business model. Passing special taxes to keep these old structures alive is a waste of money. The library system already receives millions from the 1% Allegheny sales tax. It’s bad enough there is so much government wasteful spending, but to vote yourselves at tax increase is simply STUPID!

    • Luxe Harrison

      Unfortunately, with school budget cuts, school libraries are understaffed and are using antiquated equipment and outdated materials. Sure, many things are available on the internet, but who’s to say what they find is accurate information. While it’s nice that Mr. Becker is privileged enough to not need a library many others are not. Thankfully, city residents are more aware.

  • swin

    First you had no public funding of libraries. Then your taxes funded the libraries. Then you passed a 7% sales tax to fund regional assets like libraries. Then you pass a special tax for libraries.

    Don’t your realize that all you are doing is giving a corrupt and inept government more and more of your money?

    And you wonder why the working man is overtaxed and government is broke?

    Government exits only to do that which is absolutely necessary and only that which cannot be done better by the private sector. Libraries don’t fall into either category.

    You already have a private enterprise library system – it’s called a bookstore.

    This is just another example of people who want something and want somebody else to pay for it.

  • s

    So you passed your library tax and you have only built one new high school in the city of Pittsburgh in 84 years.

    If you are a 2 wage earner family, it is silly to live in the city because of the high income tax – 3% versus 1%. What helps offset this is the difference between property taxes in the city versus the suburbs. Start to take away this difference and there will be no one left in the city.

    Next time I buy a used book on Amazon, I will send my bill to the city for partial reimbursement. After all, if I’m paying for somebody else to read their books, then they should help to pay for mine.

  • swin

    Andrew Carnegie’s been dead nearly 100 years and still he manages to get the working man to fork over his money.

  • gman

    Not everyone owns a computer and has money for books. Why do wingnuts hate education?

    • swin

      Not everyone owns a big screen TV or has money to buy a yacht. Does that mean I have to pay for them? You miss the point entirely.

      By your logic, any time somebody can’t afford to buy something, the taxpayers have to buy it for them.

      Libraries are educational? Perhaps, but look at most of the books in the libraries and I question how educational they are.

      Taking your kids to the grand canyon is educational. Do I have to help you pay for the trip?

      Your educational institutions, public schools, and universities already have libraries.

      • EQUALITY


      • Jeff Becker

        The profile name “EQUALITY” clearly indicates that this person feels everyone should be equal. The reality is that people are not equal. Some people are short, tall, thin, intelligent, not so intelligent, athletic, talented in different area’s, musically inclined and different in a million different ways. If everyone was equal then this idea does not make anyone exceptional. Does Peyton Manning earn more money than a police officer? Yes. Why? Because he brings a special talent to an industry that only a very few can do. Being a police officer is a far more important job, but there are millions of people that can do that job. The only thing in America that should be equal in this country is the opportunity to succeed. ALL children are provided a FREE education up to the 12th grade. That is equal opportunity. The difference is how that student applies themselves and takes advantage of this opportunity. The only exception to this fact is individuals with health issues. I want ALL people to succeed in life and I hold no ill will to those that achieve more success than me and believe me there are milllions of people more successfull than me.

      • swin

        One reason they are not as well off is that their taxes are so high.

      • swin

        If I want my kids to read books, I work.
        If I want my kids to get a good education, I work.
        If I want my kids to eat good food, i work.
        If I want my kids to live in a good house, I work.
        If all these things will be given to them and paid for by everybody else, I don’t have to work.

      • swin

        ‘Just pay the tax.’ Too bad you weren’t there to help our country’s founding fathers make up their minds.

      • gman

        An educated society benefits everyone and nobody is asking you to pay for a trip to the Grand Canyon. Adults not enrolled in schools should have access to books too.

        If you`re fortunate enougfh to live in Allegheny County you have access to books,music,video,etc. that might be in any library in the county.
        Of course you can always move to one of our outlying hillbilly counties like Fayette or Armstrong where they`re content to have nothing.

  • swin

    Since you were not talking about funding for something that was a necessity, the referendum should have been for a voluntary tax.

    Reminds me of Greece – government is too much in debt and has promised everybody everything and now nobody wants to, or even knows how to, cut anything.

    So you got your library tax – and you are still billions in debt over 2 stadiums, a convention center, and a hockey arena.

    And you haven’t been funding the pension system to pay for benefits you promised to workers whom you hired.

    And most wage earners have left the city. And your population has shrunk by over 50% in 30 years.

    I would guess that most people who voted for the tax are not those who will have to pay it.

  • Hit Boy

    Most of the people who use the library do not own property….So you pass a property tax?? Why didn’t the library start to charge for membership?? Because if these people would have had to pay for themselves you would have seen NO ONE paying. WAKE UP PEOPLE. Now it’s just another entitlement!!

    • swin

      Amen. What a radical idea – having people pay themselves for the things they want.

  • Critter

    all stupid democrats. You city people are the laughing stock of the county.

  • Gonzo

    Another defeat for Martty’s Army

  • gman

    Geez,could I opt out of the taxes I`ve paid for our never ending wars?
    I`m on board with you swin.

    • HEY G

      Do you pay taxes in the first place and do you pay property tax, I’m just curious?
      I think you should answer that question, please .

  • Whiskey6

    I can see the yes voters now. Woman in squirrel hill and shadyside with stringy grair hair in their thirties.Men wearing kroks. Lets have a tax to keep the aviary open.

  • stellablue

    HIT BOY says “most of the people who use the library do not own property” Where can we find that survey…or are you just making it up?

    • Jeff Becker

      It’s probably an educated guess that more people who use the library who rent because there are so many more renters/pblic housing in the city than the suburbs. Also, in the city there is a large amount of property that is owned by people and organizations located outside the city. Placing a tax other than the most basic needs of a community like a school should be determined by the people being imposed to pay the tax. Would it be fair to place a renters fee of $25 per rental unit to fund the library and not have that tax apply to property owners? II bet renters would be all up in arms. The MOST FAIR thing for libraries to receive funding is a user fee. People that utilize non essential services should pay for use of the library. The fact is the advancement in technology has severely reduced the need for public libraries.

      • Equality

        I sure you are educated. Educated to become as GREEDY as you can be. Who cares about everyone else! Its the advancement in society that has made so many people LAZY and IGNORANT to society! Just let these people enjoy their library. You can keep on supporting the Corporate greed of IBM, APPLE, MICROSOFT,VERIZON, AT&T and many other companies out there! I am sure you dont mind paying for your smart phone and high speed internet! I think its crazy what people pay to have todays technology…. Look at the TAXES on them!!!!!!!!

  • OWL61

    Sounds like the beginning of another Port Authority!!!!!

  • Linda Dyches

    I am happy the libraries got this. I am in them everyday and love the educational tools they provide…the books, the internet, dvds, music. Love the library. If you have never been in one, take the time and walk to one, get off your duff and WALK to your neighborhood library and leave that car in the driveway. Andrew Carnegiie thank you for building them. People thank you for this new tax.

    • Equality


  • Vinny

    Relax people, Rich Fitzgerald will tax something eles to get the burden off the library and Port Authority

    • Equality

      When do we stop paying taxes at all??? When we no longer need poilice or firefighters. How about medical responders? Military? I would like to pick and choose what tax I pay just like Corporate america! And the RICH! Should be complaining about the Taxes on fuel and food…… Oh wait that would support the lower class….

  • Democracy

    Vote if you want change. Don’t blame the 72% of voters who checked yes on the tax. Every registered voter over the age of 18 years old had the option to go out and vote yesterday. If you were so against the tax increase, you should have voted yesterday. Plain and simple. That’s the way it’s done.
    As for tax money going to libraries and not schools… well, the library started an initiative, rallied for support, got nearly 11,000 signatures and got the issue on the ballot. It’s almost sickening that people haven’t done that yet for the school system here. But the library has shown that it can be done with enough effort.

  • Hotel6

    There is not a tax the wimp democrats do not like.

  • Dave

    Are you people even aware that the libraries are already funded with tax dollars? It’s like any other establishment, you need to work within your means. Enough of the handouts at the expense of the taxpayers!

  • Van

    currently, everyone’s tax dollars fund things like multiple wars around the world. we fund isreal as well as palestine. we give money to tobacco companies. we give tax breaks to oil companies. we give tax breaks to the big business. if a small tax to fund a public institution is your biggest concern i feel very sorry for you. ask yourself where does 18% or so of your earnings go to each pay check? tanks arent cheap.

  • Michael jacobs

    I think its funny, everyone whos complaining here probably never walked in to a library let alone use one. Not to mention actually vot on tues. There was only 29% to 30% of the population in pgh that voted. Dont like being taxed dont like spending in the city then VOTE! if you didnt show up to vote on tue’s then you have no one to blame but your self if you dont like the outcome. The majortiy of folks who live in the city RENT, they will be paying their fair share of this tax too because rent will go up. The majority of the properties in the city is owned by major mngment companies. They all are absentee slum lords that refuse to make repairs to the property and could care less about providing a livable enviroment for their tenants so I dont feel bad if they need to pay an extra 25 dollars a year for their taxes

  • yinzer

    You’re right, ABCD, libraries are totally stupid. Strong communities are stupid. Helping out your neighbors is stupid.

    I get that not everyone’s going to be in favor, but I don’t get haters. 70% of people voted for it, but it’s all of them that are wrong, not ABCD.

    Come on, ABCD, even swin came up with some reasons, even if they seem pretty thin to me.

  • yinzer

    And PS – can you link us to wherever you saw that we have the highest taxes in the country?

  • hotel6

    Stupid democrat city people.

  • Mr. Kite

    Libraries,teachers,NPR,etc. Let`s get rid of all that stuff so our kids can grow up to be like Sarah Palin or dubya.

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