By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of protesters descended on Mayor Nutter’s outer office at Philadelphia City Hall today for a brief demonstration by students who hand-delivered letters asking him to support a policy that would go after certain nonprofit institutions for a share of taxes.
They believe it would help avoid budget cuts and school closings.
Most of the approximately 100 letters came from children at the Duckrey Elementary School, at 15th and Diamond Streets, in North Philadelphia.
One student (below) read his letter for reporters:
” ‘I have been here since pre-K, and if I go to Stanton my grades will go down. Sincerely, Shemar Bates.’ ”
“Mayor Nutter is not enforcing the good neighbors policy, which is also known as the Pike County court decision,” said Kia Hinton, who has three children in elementary schools. “It gives him the power to tax mega-institutions like Penn and Jefferson when they use land for commercial purposes.”
Supporters of the Good Neighbors Campaign say several Philadelphia institutions pay nothing in property taxes due to what they call “now-obsolete tax exemptions.” They say the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision known as Pike County reopens the door to go after them for more revenue.
The Mayor’s Press Secretary, Mark McDonald, says the City “continues to assess the impact of that decision on its handling of tax exempt property owners. And as part of the Actual Value Initiative, the city’s Office of Property Assessment has reassessed all tax exempt properties.”