Green: Reform BRT

Councilman Bill Green announced Tuesday that he would introduce legislation to change the Board of Revision of Taxes based on the current "broken" assessment system coupled with questions raised by an Inquirer series on the BRT. Read the press release below.


PHILADELPHIA, PA – Councilman Bill Green today announced that he will introduce legislation on Thursday, May 7, to reorganize the Board of Revision of Taxes. “To say that there have been problems with the BRT in recent years is an understatement,” said Green. “The time for greater accountability and transparency in Philadelphia’s property tax assessment and appeals process is long overdue.”

“The BRT’s current fractional assessment system is broken,” said Green, “and the result – low income homeowners paying disproportionally high property taxes –is unacceptable.” Not only has the BRT consistently delayed implementing a full value assessment system that would correct this problem, but a recent series in the Philadelphia Inquirer has raised serious ethical concerns about the day-to-day operation of the BRT.

Councilman Green will introduce two bills that would accomplish the goal of greater transparency and accountability within the BRT. “There is no question that we must reform the BRT,” said Green, “It’s important that Council can consider and debate the merits of how we can best accomplish it. My legislation offers two alternatives to restructuring the BRT.”

The hallmark of both pieces of legislation is the creation of an independent appeals board, separate from the entity charged with assessing properties throughout the City. One bill abolishes the BRT in its entirety, placing the appraisal process within a city department. The alternative proposal leaves the BRT in place, but provides that board members would be appointed by the Mayor and City Council, instead of the Board of Judges. Both proposals mandate more transparency and access to data, requiring a greater amount of data to be posted online, including the results of appeals.

Both bills are inspired by Mayor Michael Nutter’s past efforts to reform the BRT during his time in Council. “Ultimately, the voters will have to approve these changes,” noted Green. “As Mayor Nutter said in 2003, ‘isn’t this is the kind of decision that the taxpayers should have an opportunity to decide for themselves, what kind of system they want and how they want [it] to operate and function?’”

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