By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The latest twist in the ongoing property tax furor at Philadelphia City Hall: a councilmember’s proposal that the mayor cut spending to keep the new property tax rate down to a simple one percent.
Mayor Nutter says the new property tax system for 2014 should bring in the same amount of revenue as the old system will this year: $1.2 billion. That would put next year’s tax rate at a minimum of 1.25 percent, and higher if relief measures are offered to some property owners.
Now, Councilman Jim Kenney has introduced a plan to go in another direction: cut spending so the tax rate is simply 1.0 percent.
“We’re putting an amazingly undue burden on many, many people in this city who are frightened, who are scared, who are thinking about selling,” he said today. “And if we can get to the one-point-zero, as opposed to talking about everything over 1.25, I think we’d have a better conversation.”
Kenney estimates the lower rate would bring in at least $200 million less than the mayor wants, but he believes that’s attainable without cutting basic services like fire, police, and libraries.
“There are other departments in the city that we can go through and look at on a strategic basis,” Kenney tells KYW Newsradio, “to determine if we can get closer to the 1.0 as opposed to over the 1.25.”
His proposal was introduced this morning and will become part of the larger debate over the AVI (Actual Value Initiative) property assessments, and over the mayor’s new budget which Nutter unveils in one week.