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New Assessment Chief Promises More Checks Of Tax-Exempt Properties

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia City Hall’s new top property assessor tells City Council members that his evaluators will make sure tax-exempt properties are checked more frequently, to make sure they are what they advertise.

Chief Assessment Officer Richie McKeithen (pictured, right) of the Office of Property Assessment says of the nearly 588,000 parcels of property in Philadelphia, nearly 25,000 are fully tax exempt, including charitable, educational, hospital and religious properties.

Another 16,000 properties are partially exempt. The total market value of exempt property is more than $17-billion. Council President Anna Verna shook her head and said, “We do have an awful lot of properties that are exempt.”

She wants to drill deeper.

McKeithen said that will happen, “Our goal is to audit all of them at least once every three years.”

Councilman Curtis Jones also wants to make sure that some aren’t unfairly using a non-profit cover to shield themselves.

“There are some institutions that will go nameless at this point that have a non-profit shell, and everything inside of them operates in a for profit manner. We’re losing revenue,” Jones said.

The total market value of taxable property in Philadelphia is about $38-billion.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Joshua Vincent

    Barbara is right. Too many cheap shots against business, led to a steady exodus, with people saying things like taxes, schools and crimes didn’t matter. So, non-profits took up the space available. The city likes their wage taxes, but they also encourage a culture of dependency, and discourage normal market environments, that create jobs and support homeownership.

    The secret is to make land available without jumping through hoops. The Lancaster convention center is gorgeous, is cheap and has no unions. Where would you go?

  • Barbara

    Who’s surprised? Most businesses fled the city for the burbs during the Green and Goode administrations. Council at that time (many that remain seated at the table today) secured their seats by claiming to be working for the common good. They passed so much antibusiness legislation which organized business organizations warned would scare new business away and unduly hamper businesses that were here. Coleman. Street and Blackwell opposed the Convention Center in the 1980s as council representatives. Meanwhile it took from 1982 until 2011 to see final completion of the Convention Center. Council members in both Bucks and Montgomery county were more than happy to open their land at that time to the businesses that the city had turned against.Today, not only the city but the burbs are facing tough economic times yet not one City Council Member nor the Mayor have even suggested nor begun to pursue a plan that the city and burbs formulate a cooperative economic development plan. Perhaps 30 years from now we will look back and regret that we did not elect city leaders who were able to see the reality of the situation we were/are facing at this time in the city’s history.

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