Budget Bills Pass, Council Starts Recess

Good to their promise to wrap up business on-time and on-schedule, Council members Thursday passed the remaining budget bills and two more major pieces of legislation intended to blunt the impact of Mayor Nutter’s new property tax system on low income homeowners.

Council did not take a vote to pass two other controversial bills – one that would raise the business Use and Occupancy tax and one that would have capped and altered the 10-year tax abatement for new residential construction. The Use and Occupancy bill was held over, while the abatement bill was amended Thursday.

Council passed the operating by a 14-2 vote, with Democrat Bill Green and Republican David Oh voting against. The capital budget was approved by a 15-1 vote, with Democrat W. Wilson Goode Jr. voting against. Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco was absent.

The members also approved a bill to give so-called gentrification relief to eligible, longtime homeowners in fast-growing neighborhoods. The bill passed 14-2 with Green and Republican Brian J. O’Neill voting against. The city is seeking state permission to allow that tax break to be based on a homeowner's income and age, so that the relief only goes to people who need it. A bill granting that approval has passed the state House and awaits action in the Senate.

They also unanimously approved a bill that gives tax deferrals to eligible low-income residents facing large tax increases from the Actual Value Initiative (AVI).

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