Councilman vows to keep tax abatement reform on the agenda

tax abatement reform councilman wilson goode jr.
Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. said his fight to reform the city’s tax abatement policy is not over.
Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

City Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. on Thursday withdrew a bill he proposed last year that would have, effective 2016, capped the 10-year property tax abatement the city extends to new development and renovations at $500,000 and reduced the amount of the abatement during the final five years by 20 percent annually.

As a portion of Philadelphia’s property tax goes toward funding city schools, the measure would have freed up revenue for education.

“My opponents suggest we go find funding for schools elsewhere,” Goode said Thursday.

“I suggest we find private developers funding elsewhere other than through the tax abatement. Not every developer needs funding, but every school needs funding.”

Despite his decision to withdraw his initial proposal, the councilman said his fight to reform the city’s property tax abatement policy is far from over.

Goode said he’ll instead fully focus on moving forward a bill he proposed last week, entitled the Fully Fund Schools Tax Abatement Bill, which would extend the property tax abatement indefinitely to all city and school district-owned properties as early as next year.

“The reason I’m withdrawing this bill in favor of [the Fully Fund Schools Tax Abatement Bill] is my priority now is funding for schools as soon as possible, not in 2016,” Goode said, calling on Mayor Michael Nutter and the School Reform Commission to reject the current abatement policy and “give much needed money to schools.”

The new bill still needs to go through a City Council committee hearing before it comes up for a full vote.



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