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Philadelphia Controller Says New Property Assessments Are Even Less Accurate

(Philadelphia city controller Alan Butkovitz with Prof. Robert Strauss.  Credit: Paul Kurtz)

(Philadelphia city controller Alan Butkovitz with Prof. Robert Strauss. Credit: Paul Kurtz)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City controller Alan Butkovitz has released an independent study that indicates the Nutter administration’s recent property reassessments are less accurate than the figures currently being used.

And today, Butkovitz said the administration needs to reassess its reassessments.

“There’s no question the old numbers are bad, they’re very bad. But they’re not as bad as the new numbers,” Butkovitz (at left in photo) said.

Butkovitz, who is running for re-election, commissioned the 47-page, $27,000 study to have nationally known tax expert Robert Strauss, an economics professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, analyze the  numbers.

Strauss (at right in photo) says he found that Philadelphia’s Office of Property Assessment was way off, with assessments tilted in favor of more affluent, white residents and against African-Americans of lesser means (see related stories).

“I think it is a lesson in about well-intentioned policy change but not effective implementation,” Strauss said today.

Read the Full Report (.pdf format)

But Mayor Nutter’s spokesman, Mark McDonald, says the administration is standing by its findings, and he criticized the study’s methodology.

“The researcher did not consult with the Office of Property Assessment that actually carried out the reassessment, used partial data, and came up with his own conclusions,” McDonald said.