Goode attacks Dubow over tax abatement bill

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Philadelphia City Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. (File photo: Ed Hille / Staff Photographer)

Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. today went after Finance Director Rob Dubow for what he sees as the administration's resistance to a bill that would cut the property-tax abatement program to send more money to the School District of Philadelphia.

"Maybe you should change your name from Rob Dubow to rob millions from the schools," Goode said in a confrontational but brief committee hearing. 

Afterward, Dubow said school funding was the No. 1 priority for he and Mayor Nutter.

"Why would I respond to that?" Dubow said of Goode's comments. "The administration has been fighting tirelessly for funding for the schools."

The abatement, which gives property owners who build or renovate 10-year breaks from city and school district property taxes, has been credited as a major factor in Philadelphia's recent development boom. 

Goode's bill would end the school district portion of the abatement, unless the School Reform Commission votes to keep it in place. Owners would still be be relieved of the 45 percent of their property-tax bill that would fund the city. 

Dubow said that the bill would slow development in the long run, which would decrease overall tax revenue and end up hurting the schools. 

Goode, citing an administration analysis, argued that the projected dip in construction wouldn't hurt school district coffers for 17 years. By then, he said, the city could come up with a new way to aid development, like a tax break for construction workers.

The committee did not vote on Goode's bill.

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