Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Are we overtaxing parking lot owners?

If we say the words "Philadelphia" and "parking fight," you probably picture a ruthlessly efficient Philadelphia Parking Authority employee giving the cold shoulder to a frustrated driver. Or maybe, if you're from South Philly, you imagine a fistfight over the last space on Broad Street.

Are we overtaxing parking lot owners?

If we say the words "Philadelphia" and "parking fight," you probably picture a ruthlessly efficient Philadelphia Parking Authority employee giving the cold shoulder to a frustrated driver. Or maybe, if you're from South Philly, you imagine a fistfight over the last space on Broad Street.

But there's another parking fight in town, and it actually involves the (usually) more genteel parking lots and garages.

Back in 2008 – before the city's fiscal crisis – the Nutter administration raised the parking tax from 15 percent to 20 percent. It planned to use the money for new greening measures like planting trees. But then the economy went kablooey, and the revenue from the hike, about $12 million a year, went into the general fund to maintain services.

The parking industry believes the tax is too high, and says businesses can barely get by between the tax and a dip in business.

The dispute is pretty heated, and on this week's It's Our Money podcast, we've got the heat: Robert Zuritsky, the president of Parkway Corporation and head of the Philadelphia Parking Association, an industry group, discusses the issue with Keith Richardson, Philadelphia's Revenue Commissioner (aka the tax man).

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About this blog
Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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Holly Otterbein:
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