By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A city councilman is proposing a huge overhaul to the long-controversial 10-year property tax abatement in Philadelphia.

Under the current abatement, owners of new construction don’t pay any property taxes for 10 years. Supporters say the tax break has helped spur a lot of commercial and residential development. Critics say it’s unfair to longtime property owners facing reassessments.

At the opening meeting of Council’s fall session, Councilman Wilson Goode introduced a measure that would make two huge changes: it would be a five-year abatement that decreases annually from 100 percent down to 20 percent.

He says the original abatement’s benefits are unclear, “It’s generally a tax break for the few, the new, and the well-to-do, not for most of Philadelphia.”

Goode’s plan, if approved, would not take effect until 2014.  It will be debated in committee.

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