By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Nutter says he is not inclined to push the big non-profits in Philadelphia to chip in more to the School District, as some on City Council are pushing for.
City Council plans to explore PILOTS — payments in lieu of taxes — as a way to get non-profits that pay no property taxes to chip in more for city schools.
As budget hearings opened this past week, Majority Leader Curtis Jones told aides to the mayor that it must be discussed as part of the debate over the Administration’s proposed 9 percent property tax hike.
“I don’t know what the flavor of it is within Council. There are people that are for it. There are some people that would be adamantly against it. But irrespective, we should plan for (a discussion on) what the potential impacts are.”
PILOTS were used in the 1990’s during the mayoral tenure of Ed Rendell. But the current mayor, Michael Nutter, is throwing cold water on the idea of reviving them.
“I don’t think a PILOT program here, or has been demonstrated in any other city, is the kind of sustainable, long-term, serious funding that our school system needs.”
And Nutter reminds supporters of the idea that at its core, a PILOT program is voluntary.
“I think we all know that I can’t order the non-profits to give us money for anything.”
Councilman Wilson Goode, a proponent of PILOTS, estimates that the city and school district miss out on about $17 million a year from those tax-exempt properties.