Council considers competing bills on property tax benefits as budget negotiations | Local news

The Philadelphia City Council is weighing two nearly identical tax bills, sparking a potentially heated debate between lawmakers and the Kenny administration during the upcoming budget talks.

Both measures are aimed at increasing the cost of exemption from the estate in Philadelphia, a widely used assistance program that effectively reduces the taxable portion of housing valuation.

The only difference is the proposed increase.

On Thursday, council member Brian O’Neill unveiled a bill that would double the estate’s release from $ 45,000 to $ 90,000, the maximum amount allowed under state law.

Under a bill introduced by the administration of Mayor Jim Kenny last week, property owners can apply for a $ 65,000 reduction starting in the 2023 tax year.

It is unclear why O’Neill, representing the 10th arrondissement, decided to propose competing legislation.

A press release announcing the measure simply underscores the fact that the value of residential real estate has risen by an average of 31% after the Property Valuation Office completed its calculations, for the first time in three years as a result of “pandemic problems.” to the city.

“A sharp increase in the exemption per estate is the most effective way to immediately relieve taxpayers,” O’Neill said in a statement.

The Republican MP did not respond to a request for comment.

O’Neill’s bill is not expected to affect the administration’s actions.

But in a statement, Mayor’s spokesman Kevin Lesard said O’Neill’s decree would cost the city’s general fund more than $ 300 million over five years to pay for basic services such as police and fire.

For comparison, the administration’s proposal would cost the General Fund $ 136 million over the same period, he said.

Lesard added that the mayor’s bill “is trying to balance several priorities, including easing payroll taxes as well as supporting tenants.”

“Another proposal will give all the benefits to the owners and does nothing to alleviate the city’s dependence on the payroll tax, which proved unstable during economic downturns such as the pandemic,” Lesard said.

According to his proposed city budget of $ 5.6 billion, Kenny wants to use part of the proceeds from the new real estate appraisals to pay the proposed payroll tax reduction, another interesting idea to be discussed during the budget talks.

The deadline for approving the new budget by the city council is June 30, the end of the current financial year.

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