15-year tax abatement in poor neighborhoods?

City Councilman Frank DiCicco said Wednesday he will propose extending the city's 10-year tax abatement to 15 years in some neighborhoods bypassed by private development.

In a bill to be introduced at Thursday's regular Council meeting, poorer areas would qualify for the extended tax abatement. Such factors as median income would determine which parts of the city qualify, DiCicco said.

The current 10-year tax abatement applies citywide, but some neighborhoods have seen only publicly subsidized development. Critics say it has benefited large developers and Center City at the expense of the rest of the city.

"Even though we've seen a lot of development in some neighborhoods as a result of the 10-year-tax abatement, we hope this will give other neighborhoods a chance to develop," DiCicco said.

DiCicco's bill would require authorization by the state legislature, which is never a simple task. Anything Philadelphia seeks from the General Assembly is likely to become a bargaining chip for Senate Republicans against the Democratically controlled House and Gov. Rendell.

The abatement program was introduced in 1997 to spur development in a moribund real estate market. It covers all new construction or substantial renovations. .

Councilman Darrell L. Clarke last year proposed a gradual scaling back of the 10-year abatement. Mayor Nutter opposed that bill and it has yet to gain any traction.

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