Sunday, May 24, 2015

PICA Chairman Raises Concerns About Proposed Property Tax Hike

The head of the state fiscal watchdog group that oversees the city budget said he has concerns about the 9.9 percent property tax hike which received tentative approval from City Council yesterday.

PICA Chairman Raises Concerns About Proposed Property Tax Hike

The head of the state fiscal watchdog group that oversees the city budget said he has concerns about the 9.9 percent property tax hike which received tentative approval from City Council yesterday.

Jim Eisenhower, board chairman of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, which must grant approval to the city's budget and five year financial plan, said he was concerned about adding to a property tax system that Mayor Nutter has criticized as inaccurate.

"When you have the city saying that the asssessments as they are now are not tenable and based on faulty data, and you’re adding a 9.9 per increase on those faulty assesments, it seems there’s certainly risk there," Eisenhower said. He noted that the city could then be vulnerable to legal challenges.

Council yesteday voted 10-7 to give preliminary approval to a budget with a temporary 9.9 percent property tax increase and new taxes on some tobacco products, but did not act on a soda tax lobbied for by Nutter.

Eisenhower said it was too soon to say whether PICA would reject or approve a plan with a 9.9 percent property tax hike. He also raised concerns about the level of the surplus fund balance under the current plan -- a concern shared by the mayor.

"It’s cutting down to pretty much bare bones. As we’ve seen in the last two years, things tend to happen," Eisenhower said, noting the recent economic downturn and the unexpected blizzards over the winter.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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