By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With Philadelphia City Council opening its fall session today, the Council president proposed doubling penalties for the worst of the city’s tax deadbeats.

As City Council and the mayor prepare to switch to a new property tax system next year (see related story), they often hear complaints from those who pay taxes about efforts to nab those who don’t.

City Council president Darrell Clarke (top left in photo) today introduced a bill in which the penalties on the worst deadbeats — those who owe the city more than $20,000 — would be doubled.

“We found that constitutionally we can have a two-tiered tax system, so we believe that the more you owe, the higher the penalties should be,” Clarke said today.

He says this debate is needed as Council prepares for the release of new assessments of the value of all properties in the city.

“We cannot continue to have conversations about increasing real estate taxes when on paper we have hundreds of thousands of dollars in uncollected taxes,” Clarke says.  “So we’re going to be very aggressive on that matter.”

And Councilman Bobby Henon is calling for a hearing on the entire issue of tax delinquency in Philadelphia.
Estimates put the amount owed the city in back taxes in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

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