State Rep. Rosita Youngblood said today that she wants to examine whether casino revenue now earmarked to reduce the city’s wage tax should be used instead to bring down taxes for homeowners under Mayor Nutter’s property tax reform effort.
Every county in the state other than Philadelphia uses casino funds – paid into the Property Tax Relief Fund – to reduce property taxes for homeowners. At the time casino gaming was legalized in Pennsylvania, Youngblood said, financial analysts said Philadelphia residents paid less in property taxes and more in wage taxes than most state residents – and city residents would be better served with a reduction in wage taxes.
Youngblood, a Philadelphia Democrat, said the formula needs to be examined again with the implementation of Nutter’s Actual Value Initiative (AVI), which is meant to base taxes on the market value of properties, correcting decades of bad assessments.
AVI, however, is going to reduce the tax bills for commercial properties and shift the tax burden more heavily on to residents. The administration says that more than two-thirds of homeowners will see a tax decrease or an increase of $400 or less, but some homeowners in changing and growing neighborhoods are facing large increases in their tax bills.
In a statement, Youngblood said her proposal would require the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study whether property tax relief w
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