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Philadelphia, Nov. 29, 2013 Council President Darrell L. Clarke on Friday urged longtime owner-occupants to check their eligibility and apply for relief designed to protect them against property tax bill hikes driven by dramatic increases in surrounding property values.

Commonly known as Gentrification Relief, this tax assistance will be targeted to senior citizens and to homeowners in financial need. House Bill 390 was introduced by Rep. Mike O’Brien, D-Phila., in January and signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett on Wednesday.

“I would like to thank the entire Philadelphia Delegation for shepherding the Gentrification Relief bill through the legislative process in Harrisburg and Governor Corbett for signing it into law,” Council President Clarke said. “I urge qualifying Philadelphia homeowners to take advantage of this program and to contact their Council representatives and the Office of Property Assessment for more information.”

Last month, Council President Clarke introduced legislation that would extend the deadline for Gentrification Relief applications from Jan. 15, 2014, to Feb. 17, 2014. Council is expected to give final approval to Bill No. 130854 by the end of the year.

“I have been concerned that longtime residents in revitalized neighborhoods could be taxed out of their homes under the Actual Value Initiative,” Rep. O’Brien said. “This relief program is an important step toward full tax fairness in Philadelphia.”

Also on Wednesday, Governor Corbett signed legislation introduced by Rep. Cherelle Parker, leader of the Philadelphia Delegation, that would enable the City to lien properties under common ownership anywhere in Pennsylvania when one property is delinquent in Philadelphia. This additional authority would enable Philadelphia to collect delinquent taxes more effectively from property owners who reside or own properties elsewhere in the Commonwealth, and is estimated to raise an additional $30 million in revenue annually.

House Bill 388 gives additional lien authority to all counties in Pennsylvania.

Go to Phila.gov/loop  or contact your Council representative for more information.

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