The BRT Backs 'Actual Value Initiative' For Property Taxes

The city Board of Revision Taxes voted unanimously today to move forward with the "Actual Value Initiative," a program that would calculate what property taxes would be in the city if based on 100 percent of market value.  [Here's a link to a story today on the issue.] Currently, properties in the city are assessed at 32 percent of their market value, a system that has helped to create disparities where some property owners pay too much or too little, compared to taxes on similar properties.

The BRT, while taking the action on the politically contentious issue, put much of the focus now on Mayor Nutter, City Council and the state legislature.  The BRT is trying to come up with new assessment numbers by the end of the year for those elected officials to consider.  Most of the seven BRT members said they won't be doing much more until the elected officials come up with programs and policies to help property owners who face rising tax bills due to the initiative.

But BRT member Russell Nigro, a former state Supreme Court justice, told his colleagues they have an obligation to fix what they all conceded is a broken system so that it is more fair to taxpayers, no matter what the city's elected officials do or don't do. "So we would like to have a partnership and work this out and have it come out to be exactly the way everyone would like it to be," Nigro said. "But we can't drop the ball on our end and do nothing at all."

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