State legislators give property-tax bills preliminary OK

A set of bills that would give the city more taxing authority, provide targeted tax relief to homeowners and allow the city to get tougher on tax deadbeats was approved by the state House Urban Affairs Committee today.

State legislators are hopeful the measures will get final approval by the end of June around the time City Council will need to approve a budget. The property-tax package was created in response to the city's move to a new property-tax system, the Actual Value Initiative under which some residents' tax bills will increase. 

"The commonsense legislation approved by the committee today is a postive step toward providing even greater relief to residents as they transition to the new rates under AVI," state Rep. Cherelle Parker, chairwoman of the Philadelphia Delegation said in a statement.

The package of bills includes a measure that will give the city authority to target tax deadbeats by allowing it to put liens on properties owned throughout the state. Though the city already has the authority to provide relief for long time homeowners that will see huge spikes to their tax bills under AVI, a second bill would allow the city to provide gentrification relief based on age and financial need. A third proposal would allow eligible residents to make property-tax payments in installments.