Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

AVI: Stealing food from the mouths of our children

Mayor Michael Nutter and the City Council must find a way to deal with AVI, the city´s new suggested property tax system.
Mayor Michael Nutter and the City Council must find a way to deal with AVI, the city's new suggested property tax system.

As you're reading this, Mayor Nutter and City Council are struggling to deal with AVI, the city's new suggested property tax system which is causing major concerns among home owners, since the new home assessments seem to be somewhat volatile.

Someone needs to say let's take a break and slow this system down in order to find a way to both get an updated system of assessments in place, to help them do what they’re supposed to do: help our schools. But here is what you need to know today.

Those new assessments are leading some people to the realization that their mortgage payments will go up, many by a hundred or even hundreds of dollars. Since we're saying that those funds will go to create better schools, has anyone realized that while the schools might improve, home life might be harder for some of our more cash-strapped homeowners?

Meaning our children may have better schools, but less food in their stomachs because their parents have less money, most of which has to be spent keeping a roof over their heads. Can a student study math or science hungry?

So, with that in mind, it's time to take our children in mind. Not just their schooling, but their home life.

Mr. Mayor, Mr. Council President, and Council Members, I have much respect for you. But maybe we need to go to the legislature and ask them for time to find a system that does not hurt our families. If not for our children, then what about for our neighborhoods which Philadelphia is so proud of?

Many neighborhoods are going through gentrification. Do we tax those who have lived in those neighborhoods at the same level as the new, many of who have more funds to improve their homes and risk taxing the old neighbors out? The neighbors who are the stability and backbone of growing areas of this city.

With all due respect these are concerns of mine, and while I'll respect your legislative knowledge, it is my hope that you find a way to give relief for those in our city who are endangered of losing their neighborhood or have less on the table due to the AVI property tax system.

Mark Segal is one of Philadelphia's most awarded opinion writers and has been recognized by the National Newspaper Association, Pennsylvania News-media Association, Suburban Newspapers of America and the Society of Professional Journalists, among others. He can be reached on Facebook or on Twitter

Mark Segal for Philly.com
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