PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Parking is already expensive in Philadelphia and spots at the garage may soon get even more costly.
Garages say rising taxes leave them no choice but to pass along the cost to customers and rates may soon double, and potentially triple.
“I don’t think it is realistic for a lot of people in Philadelphia,” said Julie Stavarski, of Germantown.
The rate hike is an industry-wide necessity in this city, according to Robert Zuritsky, the president of the Philadelphia Parking Association.
“Since 2007, there have been 10 tax increases that have affected our industry,” said Zuritsky.
Zuritsky also runs Parkway Corporation, a company that operates several Philadelphia garages and lots.
The tax burden to his garages from 2007 to 2018 increased roughly 50 percent.
“The parking industry is not viable going forward. No industry can sustain 40, 50-plus percent of its revenue that it takes in, going directly to the city in taxes,” explained Zuritsky.
Taking such a beating on the bottom line has left parking garage companies all over the city with two choices: either raise rates drastically, or convert garages to more profitable real estate.
Some companies have chosen the latter and Philadelphia has lost several thousand parking spaces while gaining new skyscrapers in the skyline.
“This policy is going to negatively impact the economy in the city. We are concerned it is going to cause more congestion as people just circle around looking for parking meters or there won’t be enough parking to support the businesses that are out there,” said Zuritsky.
The Philadelphia Parking Association is proposing a plan to the city that would shift some of the tax burden from the garages to much less taxed on-street meters. In this scenario, the garages would get relief, while the city still gets revenue.
Mayor Jim Kenney’s office said in a statement, “The Mayor understands the concerns of the Parking Association regarding the City’s parking tax. He and top aides have been engaged in discussions with the Association on this matter for several months.”
If an agreement is not reached soon, garages could bring up rates as soon as next July.