By Steve Tawa

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia City Councilman wants to amend an ordinance to speed up the process to go after people who deliberately avoid paying property taxes.

Councilman David Oh says the city is owed more than $500 million in delinquent property taxes, and he wants to stop the bleeding.

“Every year we don’t collect it, it becomes less collectible, and we’re not fixing the problem.”

Oh says folks with legitimate hardship issues can cut a deal and enter into repayment agreements, but he says that half-billion dollar figure includes $150-million or more in collectable taxes, much of which comes from speculators.

“They’re businesses, they’re wealth. They just calculate that they’re not going to pay these taxes, and why would they, when year after year, we don’t collect it.”

Tawa: “Sounds like it’s part of their business model.”

Oh: “Yes, yes it is.”

Oh wants the city to give people a year, and that’s it, after which any delinquent accounts are automatically transferred to a third party law firm or collection agency to press for payment.

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