Also Proposes Amendment to Discourage Property Speculation
Philadelphia, Oct. 6, 2016 – Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) on Thursday called on the Fiscal Stability and Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee to examine ways to more effectively measure the impacts of tax benefits.
“The unusually high number of tax incentives and exemptions offered by the City of Philadelphia warrant more rigorous examination,” Council President Clarke said. “The stated goal of many tax breaks is to help generate economic activity and spur job creation. City Council has a fiduciary obligation to ensure the Administration tracks and measures outcomes, and to adjust policy as needed. I look forward to an informative hearing and encourage members of the public as well as the business and nonprofit communities to participate.”
A recent Pew Charitable Trusts report found that between 2010 and 2012, Philadelphia offered 29 tax incentives and exemptions amounting to approximately $215.8 million annually in forgone revenue to the City – approximately 60 percent more than the average annual forgone tax revenue from 2001 to 2003.
Council President Clarke also proposed closing a loophole that enables purchasers to exploit the City’s public property disposition process for financial gain. The amendment would authorize the Vacant Property Review Committee to establish conditions on conveyances consistent with policy in agencies including the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.
Council President Clarke added: “Thanks in part to recent innovations like the Land Bank, Philadelphia is able to more effectively meet our goal of improving neighborhoods via public property conveyance. When public property is conveyed for a nominal fee, it should always be done for the purpose of improving our City. That means timely redevelopment, not waiting years for values to rise in order to make a large profit. This amendment will discourage bad behavior on the part of property owners who take advantage of our City’s more efficient land disposition process. I look forward to hearing from stakeholders during the public vetting of this ordinance.”
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Council President Darrell L. Clarke is serving his second term as the President of Philadelphia City Council. He represents Philadelphia’s 5th Council District. More information at phlcouncil.com/DarrellClarke