By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The opening meeting of Philadelphia City Council’s fall session is this morning. And while school funding will dominate the next few months, other key issues will be front and center, including revising the controversial property tax abatement.
Councilman Wilson Goode expects to call for a final vote Thursday on his plan to scale back the ten-year property tax abatement on new properties, capping the abatement at $500,000 in property value.
“We know that there are a number of dwelling units in Philadelphia that are above $500,000 in value. And we believe that with that cap, we are generating additional revenue,” Goode said. “If there is a dwelling unit that is worth $1-million, or $5-million, or $10-million, there is no reason we should be abating all those taxes.”
The bill would also phase out the abatement over the its final five years.
If approved it would take effect in 2016. If it doesn’t gain approval, Goode plans to try a more radical approach – slashing half the abatement so the school district sees its portion of property taxes from new developments.
That measure, which Goode plans to introduced Thursday, would make his “Plan A” more palatable to those who support the full abatement.
Also being introduced is Councilman Jim Kenney’s plan to revise the city charter so a mayor can only appeal firefighter and police arbitration awards with the approval of Council. Kenney is livid that Nutter appealed the firefighter’s contract for four years. The mayor dropped the battle only last week, but the councilman is introducing the bill anyway.
“It’s appropriate, whether it gets out of committee or whether we eventually
pass it, to have a public and transparent discussion about their rationale and why they decided to spend taxpayers’ money that way when they couldn’t win,” Kenney said.
Other debates expected in City Council’s fall session include:
–Overhauling the structure of the city’s business taxes
–Changing the city charter so that incumbent city elected officials need not resign in order to run for another office
–Tweaking the city’s new property assessment system, known as the Actual Value Initiative