Just what a struggling major city needs — more property tax hikes for tax-paying property owners, in order to make up for the huge amounts owed by deadbeat property owners, many of whom don’t even live in Philly:
From Patrick Kirkstra at PlanPhilly:
Philadelphia property tax delinquents piled up an additional $43.8 million in new debt over the last year, increasing the total amount owed to the city and financially desperate School District to $515.4 million, an increase of 9.3 percent in a single year, city records show.
There are now about 103,000 tax delinquent properties in Philadelphia. About 18 percent of all parcels in the city are in arrears. As documented in a PlanPhilly/Inquirer series last August, no other big city in the nation approaches that level of property tax delinquency.
Past due property taxes have long been a contentious issue in Philadelphia, but the growing pot of delinquent cash has attracted even more attention than usual in recent months.
And for good reason. City Council and Mayor Michael Nutter have enacted two straight property tax hikes, and are close to approving a citywide property reassessment that would collect as much as $94 million in additional property taxes. Meanwhile, the School District of Philadelphia – which relies on property taxes for 80 percent of its local funding – is in the midst of perhaps the worst financial crisis in its history…
I live in Philly. I often ride my bike around City Hall, the largest municipal building in the country, built in the grandiose Second Empire style. It is rumored that governance is going on somewhere in that building — that Mayor Nutter and City Council are actually taking steps to save the public school system and the middle-class tax base, despite opposition from PA’s wing-nut Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and the Philly-hating General Assembly.
I don’t believe it. The only government employees who seem to get anything done in Philly are the pests who issue parking tickets.