Poll: Nearly half of Philadelphians have not heard of AVI

philadelphia skyline
A poll released Tuesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts found nearly half of Philadelphians haven’t heard of AVI.
Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

A poll released Tuesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts revealed Philadelphians are skeptical about the Actual Value Initiative, a citywide property tax assessment overhaul starting this year under which real estate taxes will be based on properties’ true market value, rather than on a predefined rate.

Perhaps most shocking was the revelation that nearly half – 48 percent – of respondents said they’d never even heard of AVI, which the poll called “one of the most heavily debated city issues during the previous two years.”

“I certainly understand that a lot of people don’t have the time and inclination to follow what’s going on in the city closely and a lot of people don’t own property and probably think, for that reason, AVI doesn’t have much impact on them; but having said all that, this was an issue that had been out there for several years,” Pew Philadelphia Research Initiative project director Larry Eichel said.

“It got a tremendous amount of coverage in the press and public officials were talking about it; therefore, the number was lower than I expected.”

Of those residents who had heard of AVI, 44 percent said they believed the shift would make real estate taxes less fair, while 26 percent said they felt it would make taxes fairer.

That figure was virtually flipped among respondents with family incomes over $100,000. Forty-eight percent of respondents in that demographic said the change would make taxes fairer, while 30 percent said it would make taxes less fair.

The poll further noted that, “on the whole, Philadelphians appear to view taxes and government less favorably than they did in the four previous years that Pew has polled residents in the city.”

Though in past Pew polls, Philadelphians have been roughly split over whether they prefer higher taxes and more government services or lower taxes and fewer services, this year, only 41 percent opted for higher taxes and more services, while 50 percent preferred the opposite.

The poll noted the shift came after Philadelphia has in recent years increased its property and sales tax rates without significantly expanding services, including those administered by its ailing city schools.

“This is the third report we’ve put out for the survey,” Eichel said.

“As we’ve talked about in some of the previous reports, there’s just a general sourness to the mood of the city. I think that shows up in the question as well, and clearly the school situation has something to do with that sourness. I’m not saying it’s the only cause, but it’s clearly part of it.”

The poll also revealed that, while the majority of Philadelphians said they liked the idea of cutting wage and business taxes to create jobs, respondents were overwhelmingly against raising property taxes to make up for revenue that could be lost from the shift.

“I think it certainly shows people in the business community and other civic leaders who think high wage and business taxes are an obstacle to economic development, that they have a big educational job in front of them, if they really want to change the city’s tax structure,” Eichel said.

“The public obviously, at the moment, doesn’t like the idea of shifting the tax burden to property taxes.”

By the numbers

>> 52% of Philadelphians said they’d heard or read anything about AVI, while 48% said they were unaware of the property tax shift.

>> 44% of residents who were aware of AVI said they believed it would make real estate taxes less fair, while 26% said they felt it would make taxes more fair.

>> 67% of Philadelphians said the tax change would make no difference in their plans to stay in the city or move elsewhere, while 22% said they would be less likely to remain in the city and 8% said they’d be more likely to stay.

>> 50% of Philadelphians said they’d prefer to have lower taxes and fewer city services, while 41% said they’d prefer the opposite.

>> That was a change from 2012, when 49% of respondents said they’d favor higher taxes and more city services, while 42% said they’d prefer lower taxes and fewer city services.

>> 65% of Philadelphians said they liked the idea of cutting wage and business taxes to create jobs, while 26% were not in favor of the plan.

>> However, 59% of residents did not favor raising property taxes to help make up for the revenue lost from wage and business taxes, while just 33% agreed with the proposal.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.