With Phila. Schools Starved For Cash, Councilman Irked By Property Tax Abatements
By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia city councilman is accusing the Nutter administration of ignoring the needs of the school district by opposing his plan to scale back the city’s ten-year property tax abatement.
Roughly half of Philadelphia’s property tax revenues go to the school district, and Councilman Wilson Goode (at left in photo) says continuing the ten-year tax abatement for new construction deprives the schools of tens of millions of dollars each year.
His plan would scale back the abatement so the school district’s take is restored unless the School Reform Commission were to approve its continuation.
Rob Dubow, the mayor’s finance director, says reducing the abatement would hurt the city overall, in jobs and new construction.
And he said that, in turn, would eventually hurt the district — in about 17 years. He put the impact over 30 years at a $22-million loss for the schools and a $46-million loss to the city.
Goode and Dubow (at right in photo) debated the measure at a committee hearing.
(Dubow:) “This bill by itself costs us development.”
(Goode:) “This bill gives money to the school district, with no adverse impact for 17 years.”
(Dubow:) “But an adverse impact in the longer run.”
(Goode:) “So you are robbing the school district for the next 17 years.”
(Dubow:) “But not over the longer term.”
(Goode:) “But you are robbing the school district for the next 17 years–”
(Dubow:) “We are looking at what happens in the longer term, and we are looking at what happens to development.”
(Goode:) “OK, maybe we should change your name from Rob Dubow to Rob Millions From the Schools.”
The committee took no action on Goode’s proposal, which comes as Council and the mayor struggle yet again to devise a way to get more money for the cash-starved district.