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City Council now has fallback plan if Harrisburg doesn't come through

By the Notebook on May 22, 2014 05:32 PM

by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks

Philadelphia City Council has added a fallback position to ensure sales tax money does go to the city's school district.

The bill contains enabling legislation to send an estimated $120 million from a sales tax surcharge to the schools in perpetuity. Implementing a law passed in the state Legislature last year, it's a fallback in the event that Council can't get a city cigarette tax through Harrisburg, Councilman Curtis Jones said Thursday.

"We're optimistic that the Pennsylvania legislature will give us some relief, but at the end of the day our children will be educated," Jones said.

City Council hopes to have the cigarette tax in place so some of the sales tax revenue could help fill underfunded pension accounts.

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Comments (3)

Submitted by Tax payer (not verified) on May 22, 2014 7:29 pm
Here's an idea--put an end to the 10 year tax abatement. Newly constructed properties are going up so rapidly in South Philadelphia that schools in this part of town could be sufficiently funded if folks new to the area were required to pay property taxes like everyone else. By the way, the same folks who get to live tax free are demanding resources for their children in their neighborhood school. Dear Friends, if you want a top tier school with ample resources, like the school you left behind in the burbs (so you could live tax free), then you need to join other city dwellers in paying property taxes.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 23, 2014 8:38 am
They do pay property taxes--just on the value before improvements. The question is how many of these improvements would actually get done without the abatement. What I think is undeniably true is that the city needs to step up. The city argues that for every dollar of abated property tax value they more than make it up in terms of wage tax, sales tax, and other city fees. That's great for the city but doesn't help the district. They need to increase the percentage of property taxes that go to the school district to make up for the money they're taking with the abatement.
Submitted by Nell (not verified) on May 22, 2014 11:58 pm
Do we think that Harrisburg will come up with any money if we tell them they don't really have to?

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