Sen. Mike Stack today, along with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, proposed a five-bill piece of legislation that would allow the city to collect nearly $400 million in back property and business income and receipt taxes to help fund the budget shortfall of the city's school district.
Stack said not to detract from Mayor Michael Nutter's plan to increase taxes on cigarettes and liquor, but his proposal "has got a better chance of passing and being utilized."
"The delinquent tax issue has got the best shot at finding revenue at a moderately faster rate to actually get the money into the school district," Stack told Metro today.
Last week, Nutter introduced to City Council a plan that includes a $2 tax increase on cigarettes and a 5 percent tax increase on liquor-by-the-drink. Coupled with his own plan for improved tax collections, Nutter said the city can raise an additional $95 million for the school district, which faces a $300 million deficit.
"Across the city," Stack said, "people have talked about how frustrated they are—that it seems like there are ever-increasing taxes, yet there are delinquents out there."
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Stack's bill would give the city legal authority to go after property and business owners who are delinquent on their taxes. There are already four different sources of tax collectors in the city, Stack said, and this would "streamline the process" and "make sure we're utilizing all the potential tools."
"We can collect hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes that are already owed and unpaid," he added.
The bill's breakdown
Senate Bill 970 and 974 would give the city the power to go after:
- $249 million in unpaid property taxes
- $91.5 million in delinquent business income and receipts taxes
- $47 million in late wage taxes