PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Parking garage attendants packed Philadelphia City Council chambers today on behalf of their bosses, who were pushing City Council to lower the city’s 20-percent parking tax, and they came away with half a loaf.

The parking industry showed up in full force at the Council committee hearing.  The city’s parking tax was raised three years ago to 20 percent, and the industry wants it gradually scaled back to the original rate of 15 percent, starting later this year.

Committee chair Jim Kenney said it won’t happen this year, and he proposed two alternatives to the reduction.

“One would start as a half-a-percent reduction in (fiscal year) ’13 — that would be option one — and the other option would be starting a full one-percent reduction in ’14,” he said.

Both options were approved in committee as negotiations on which plan to use continue.

Rob Zuritsky, speaking for the parking industry, seemed disappointed.

“We are happy to get some relief,” he said afterward.  “We don’t necessarily think it’s fast enough.”

The Nutter administration is opposed to any reduction in the tax on parking, saying it would be too costly.  If one of the options passes the full Council, a mayoral veto is likely.

Zuritsky says the lost revenue could be reclaimed simply by having city auditors going after rogue parking lot operators who don’t pay taxes.

Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau chief Mike Dunn

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