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Councilman Goode Proposes Changes For Tax Abatement Program

(Councilman Wilson Goode Jr., in 2011 file photo.  Image from City of Phila. TV)

(Councilman Wilson Goode Jr., in 2011 file photo. Image from City of Phila. TV)

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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Philadelphia’s long-running 10-year tax abatement continues to be a political hot potato as the city moves to its new property tax system.

City Council’s budget hearings have been dominated by the new assessment system, dubbed AVI. And the AVI debate has renewed questions among residents and council members about whether the city should continue its 10-year 100-percent abatement on new properties.

This came up at Tuesday’s budget hearing, with Councilman Wilson Goode questioning the mayor’s Finance Director Rob Dubow:

“We’re giving away money (through the abatement) that we don’t necessarily need to give away,” Goode said. “And at the same time, driving up tax bills for everyone else.”

“The one part of that that I don’t agree with is that it’s wasted money,” replied Dubow.

Supporters of the abatement says it spurs new developments which adds to the property tax base once the abatement runs out. Goode proposes a five-year abatement instead, with the percentage gradually decreasing down to zero over those five years.