Yesterday, voters in Pittsburgh passed a referendum to increase their property taxes to fund the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. It passed easily with 72% of votes in favor of the referendum. Residents voted to increase their property taxes by $25 for every $100,000 in assessed value to directly fund the library system. The new tax will result in around $3.25 million for the library.
The Carnegie Library was already supposed to be funded by the Regional Asset District sales tax of 1% in Alleghany County along with the city and the state. RAD ended up not being rad enough as maintenance costs have risen over time. So the referendum was put on the ballot.
There have been several success stories this year regarding funding for libraries. Measure L in L.A. and reduced library cuts in New York are two examples. Both of those ended up being a reduction in cuts or a restoration of previous budget. The Pittsburgh vote was unusual in that it was a new tax for additional funding.
This is absolutely amazing news that residents were willing to add a tax in this economic climate to support their libraries. It’s even more amazing that they voted so strongly to do so with 72% approving the new tax. Voters didn’t just say that they liked their libraries. They shouted that they love their libraries!
This is fantastic news for libraries everywhere.