By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A bill that would fund repairs to Philadelphia’s aging housing stock, with an increase in the real estate transfer tax, drew a mixed reaction at a city council hearing Thursday.

The bill advanced with two no votes, from Councilmen Alan Domb and David Oh.

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An increase in the real estate transfer tax would support maintenance and repairs for homeowners.

The bill sponsored by council president Darrell Clarke would increase the three percent transfer tax by point-one percent for ten years.

The proceeds would pay the debt service on a $100 million bond supporting home improvement programs, something Councilwoman Cherelle Parker says would ultimately increase citywide real estate values.

“This is not just morally right, this is economically sound and it makes good economic sense for neighborhoods throughout the city of Philadelphia.”

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Greater Philadelphia association of realtors President Paul Garvey saw things differently.

“We fully support efforts to address the city’s home repair preservation needs. We believe, though, increasing the realty transfer tax compounds what is already a major cost burden for homebuyers.”

Garvey says seniors and low-income homebuyers would be most adversely affected. The full council is expected to vote this month.


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