By Mike Dunn

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is defending his record in the wake of a published report that found he has fared worse than previous mayors in going after tax deadbeats.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that since 1980, the three single-worst years for tax collection in Philadelphia came during Nutter’s first term. And the report says the city’s tax collection rate of 85-percent is a full 10 points below 20 other big cities.

Nutter blames the recession, and a neglected tax collection process that predates his administration.

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“This is an accumulation of decades of delinquency, of bad policy, of lack of investment in software and hardware and human capital which we are reversing.”

Nutter vows to raise the collection rate to above 90-percent. The issue of tax deadbeats has become more prominent as Nutter pushes for a new property assessment system dubbed “AVI.”

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The mayor last month announced that the city will spend $25-million for a new computer system to track deadbeats, and to analyze who should be targeted for collection efforts, as well as $15- million to staff a new call center.