Ready the commentary in its entirety on philly.com. An excerpt is posted below:
After examining the many available methods, it has become unequivocally clear to me that the tax-lien securitization method, used effectively for 15 years by New York City, is exactly what Philadelphia needs in order to recover these funds.
The securitization method could offer the city the following benefits:
- an upfront advance of $90 million to $120 million;
- additional annual revenue of $25 million to $40 million on top of current collections;
- the creation of a sustainable taxpayer culture;
- much-needed funds for our schools, which are the primary beneficiary of property taxes (55 percent of every dollar goes to the School District);
- the opportunity to support critical issues important to the city that may otherwise not receive healthy funding.
Additionally, compared with previous methods used by the city, the securitization method would enable Philadelphia to maintain control of the entire process – allowing protections to be established for vulnerable homeowners and saving tens of millions of dollars that would have otherwise been paid to overly expensive tax collection agencies.
With all this considered, the good news is we have the chance to make a real change. In the coming days, the administration has the important job of deciding which of the submitted proposals will most effectively address our tax delinquencies. The city should not only choose a method that will ensure we collect and dedicate the necessary funds to support our schools, city services, and a growing pension deficit, but also one that puts Philadelphia on a sustainable tax-compliant path for years to come.
Councilman Allan Domb is serving his first term as an At-Large member of Philadelphia City Council. He is chair of Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless. More information at phlcouncil.com/AllanDomb
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