Study: Philadelphia's property tax overhaul effort is rare

A view of the city's Delaware River waterfront. (Jonathan Wilson / File Photo)

The Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative issued a report today that evaluates the city’s property tax system and its eventual overhaul also known as the Actual Value Initiative (AVI).

City Council is expected to move forward with Mayor Nutter’s proposal to shift to a property tax system based on market values next year. Council decided in the spring to delay AVI for a year after members became increasingly concerned about data from the administration that continued to change.

The report titled, The Actual Value Initiative: Overhauling Property Taxes in Philadelphia describes the city’s property tax reform effort as unique and unlike any task taken by any other city –in the absence of state mandates and court orders. It also compares the city's property tax system to several cities including Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and Boston.

The report does not speculate on what the new tax rate could be or what neighborhoods would see huge tax increases or decreases.

Pennsylvania is one of nine states that do not impose reassessment timetables or methods of assessment on local governments, the report states. The report explains some of the difficulties the city faces in establishing a new property tax system including the state's uniformity clause which requires that all types of properties be taxed at the same level. 

For more check out the report here.