Stack Calls Out Mayor on AVI Pursuit; Recommends Delinquent Tax Collection
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 18, 2012 — Calling the City of Philadelphia “a national joke” on property tax collection, state Sen. Mike Stack today called on Mayor Michael Nutter to focus on collecting delinquent property taxes rather than continue to pursue the mayor’s Actual Value Initiative (AVI) property tax overhaul plan.
Stack sent a letter to the mayor today addressing his concerns over Nutter’s pursuit to grant more authority to the city to pursue the mayor’s property tax reassessment, which Stack said will hurt the working, middle class city taxpayers.
“His idea to grant more authority to a city incapable of collecting the taxes already owed is at best premature, at worst absurd,” said Stack (D-Phila.) in his letter to the mayor. “Philadelphia is a national joke with a property tax collection rate at barely 80 percent. This means simply that one out of every five property owners in Philadelphia is not paying property taxes at all. No other major American city has a collection rate that low.
“We should not consider AVI legislation until we act and collect those unpaid property taxes,” Stack said. “This is paramount in order to create accountability, fiscal responsibility and to realize our true tax rate estimates.”
Stack authored legislation (Senate Bill 1505) that would prohibit the City of Philadelphia from increasing property taxes if the city’s property tax collection rate is less than 95 percent. Although the bill will not be considered as the legislative calendar draws to a close, Stack said he plans to introduce this legislation again next year.
Stack said he would welcome a meeting of the Nutter administration, City Council and legislative leaders to address the city’s financial issues.
“It’s time we get serious about the problems our city faces, and not just impose our will on those who are already doing the right thing: working, paying taxes and raising families in our city,” Stack said.
Editor’s Note: A copy of the letter that Stack sent the mayor is available here.