PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s tax abatement on new construction is going away. The City Council voted Thursday to end tax breaks for residential properties.
The tax abatement bill was one of 96 bills the City Council voted on Thursday.
It will phase out the tax breaks for homeowners over 10 years, and while many people who spoke today agreed with doing away with the abatements, they said the bill is too little, too late.
“Y’all put your heads together — 17 members — and this is what you come up with? This is a disgrace. It really is,” one citizen said.
City Council was chastised by homeowners moments before they voted unanimously to phase out the city’s tax abatement.
“Today is the first change that we’ve seen, unique in the history of the 20-year program,” Councilmember Helen Gym said.
The abatement was put in place nearly 20 years ago to spur development and to get people to move back to the city.
It will now be phased out by 10% a year over 10 years.
The council said by doing away with the abatement, the city stands to bring in nearly $300 million in tax revenue over 10 years.
The council says the additional revenue will help fund the city’s schools and other city services.
However, people who testified said the abatement should’ve been immediately abolished, not phased out.
“Our children demand and need better, they deserve better. They don’t deserve a watered-down bill that caters to the developers and slight our children,” resident Antoine Little said.
Mayor Jim Kenney said he will sign the bill.
The abatement will begin to be phased out beginning Dec. 31, 2020.