Thursday, July 10, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

City Council approves property tax rate, new cigarette tax

Philadelphians can now figure out what their tax bill will be under the Actual Value Initiative, the city's new property-tax system.

City Council approves property tax rate, new cigarette tax

City Council President Darrell L. Clarke with Council members Mark Squilla and Maria Quinones-Sanchez
City Council President Darrell L. Clarke with Council members Mark Squilla and Maria Quinones-Sanchez LUKE RAFFERTY/Staff Photographe

Philadelphians can now figure out what their tax bill will be under the Actual Value Initiative, the city's new property-tax system.

City Council approved today a 1.34 percent property-tax rate and to maintain a homestead exemption that would knock $30,000 from a homeowner's assessment. 

The bill passed 11-5 with Council members Kenyatta Johnson, Bill Green, Mark Squilla, Brian O'Neill, David Oh voting against it. Councilwoman Marian Tasco was absent.

Meanwhile, Council president Darrell Clarke amended a bill that would provide relief under AVI for longtime homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods. The amended bill allows for means-based gentrification relief. State enabling legislation is expected to soon be approved.

Council also approved a new $2 per pack cigarette tax, one of two bills proposed by Mayor Nutter to raise money for the cash-strapped school district. The bill passed 16-0. Another bill that would increase the liquor-by-the-drink tax from 10 percent to 15 percent, raising $22 million has been stalled. Clarke opted against calling the bill up for a vote yesterday in a Council Committee hearing. The measure has been met with some pushback from Council and state lawmakers.

Both bills require state enabling legislation. 

Parents and school advocates urged Council to support an alternative school funding proposal sponsored by Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez that would raise $30 million through an increase to a business tax known as use-and-occupancy. Nutter opposes this measure and it's not clear there is support on Council for it. There's still time though, if Quinones-Sanchez gets enough support for her bill, Council could vote on it at its last scheduled session next week. 

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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