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Study: Property Tax Relief vs. Wage Tax Relief From Casino $$ In Phila

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Philip Durgin (left) reads summary of report at     LBFC meeting

Philip Durgin (left) reads summary of report at LBFC meeting

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A report prepared by a state legislative committee is likely to bolster support for continuing to use casino revenue for wage tax relief in Philadelphia.

The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee report concludes that if Philadelphia’s $86 million dollar share of tax revenues from gaming were generally applied to property taxes instead of wage tax reduction, it would reduce property taxes by 7-and-a-half percent, but that reduction would particularly benefit low-income owners of higher-value homes.

Philip Durgin, the committee’s director, said the latter results are similar if the casino funds are instead targeted to double the homestead exemption enacted last year.

“Expanding the homestead exemption to $60,000 would primarily benefit homeowners with low-levels of earned income who own homes with appraised values of $60,000 or more,” Durgin says.

But the report ultimately cites previous studies showing that the wage tax is regressive and is a job-killer, costing tens of thousands of jobs.

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