Council President Skariah Mayor Kramer
Millbourne Pennsylvania, is one of oursmaller but gutsier LVT towns.
It is strategically placed just outside Philadelphia city limits in Delaware County PA, along a vital road and commuter rail corridor. This article sets up a podcast (below) describing the town's struggles of being in the grips of one large vacant lot, an intransigent owner, and its hopes for the future.
As always, the answer is in the numbers...
It's nowadays accepted that beverages with added sugar are bad. New York City a few years ago had it's own psychodrama on Big Gulps and Frappuccinos, when the unlikely nanny state of Michael Bloomberg tried to impose a tax on sugary drinks as a public health measure.
It was eventually defeated in court, but the idea is still very popular by those who have no problem telling other people what to put into their mouths.
Certainly, soda probably not the best thing one could drink.
Philadelphia. A great city strategically placed on the East Coast halfway between New York City and Washington DC.
Yet, it's fiscal crisis has been a fact of life for decades, with no end in sight. Philadelphia is a great paradox, and explaining why takes patience and the willingness to question great assumptions.
Philadelphia. Of the 10 largest cities in the United States, it is the poorest. It has problems such as crumbling infrastructure, ballooning expenses, and struggling schools and neighborhoods.
Pennsylvania even after decades of heavy lifting by the taxpayers is still
lurching from crisis to crisis, with the root cause based in fiscal
uncertainty. Philadelphia and its nearly
insolvent school district still has not discovered a true “fit for purpose”
revenue source that will provided - at the very least - revenue stability. Poor, working and middle-class people pay a
larger share of their incomes on tax than in nearly any other American
city. Turning to those who can least
afford to pay ought to be the last choice, but ironically in Philadelphia it’s
nearly always the first choice.
Wage and Sales Taxes: a Curse on Low Income Citizens and Their Communities
"The middling and superior ranks of people, if they understood their own interest, ought always to oppose all taxes upon the necessaries of life, as well as all direct taxes upon the wages of labour." Adam Smith An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Volume 2, p.289
As many public policy makers know, we've always considered government taxes in a descending order from destructive, to not so good, better and then best.
No More either/Or: What's Philadelphia worth?
For years Philadelphia Pennsylvania has been an outlier among American cities (and internationally) for its menu ofstrange taxes
on business andonerous levies
on residents that have savage effects upon the local economy. For years, people who think about tax issues have proposed over and over again reducing reliance on these corrosive and self-destructive levies, that have driven jobs and capital out of the city squeezing the traditional middle class in particular.
2013 heralds something considered cataclysmic in
Philadelphia but is routine in the rest of the world: a new assessment for
property tax purposes. From Podunk to
Portland (Oregon or Maine), assessment officers and departments apply land and
building values to each property, the community figures out how much revenue it
needs and divides it by those values. Voilà, you get a property tax rate, and then
send out a bill.
A very little history
Nothing is ever quite that simple in the city that
Story One - Take a Peep at This
Our perceptive friends atKeystone Politics
, haveposted an observation
about the latest embarrassment on the Philadelphia land-use front. Long story short, for years a patch of Market Street has been infested (literally and figuratively) by some low-rise, low-rent, low class buildings housing one of the few porno "palaces" left in Philadelphia. The anchor of the Keystone post isan article
in the Philadelphia Inquirer by the redoubtable
What properties are most often exempt? Generally property owned by charitable organizations (Code section 501(c)(3)), Public charities, Private foundations, Social welfare organizations (section 501(c)(4)), Agricultural/horticultural organizations (section 501(c)(5)), Labororganizations (section 501(c)(5)) and Business leagues (trade associations
Spreading Like Kudzu
Historic reality: in 1950, Cleveland Ohio had a population
. It had a tax base that
was compact and served all sectors of the city well. Great fortunes were made, along with the success
of the working and middle classes. From the 1900s to the 1950s,great civic
became possible with this wealth.
John Rockefeller was only the largest source of foundations and gifts that
made Cleveland not only a gritty industrial hub, but a place where one could
become a more educated, cultured and involved citizen.
The Point Breeze Garbage Lot/Museum is still a live story that may end up biting someone. The City Controller
has rebuked the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for treating a good citizen likedirt
, as we reported a few days ago.
Now, the builder- Ori Feibush - has respondet as the PRA has wished (putting the trash back and removing the amenities) but by starting his ownweb site as a platform
for the coming battle. Even the hacker ANONYMOUS is getting into the actas Jon Geeting reports.
The Name of the Place Is I Like it Like That: 20th and Annin Streets, Point Breeze
There's neighborhood in Philadelphia called Point Breeze. By any measure, it’s been abandoned and
abused by the economy, government and the larger community for decades. The neighborhood itself is essentially no
longer owned by the people that live there.
Point Breeze: Overwhelmed by absentee owners
It's not surprising that residents who are
left see how fragile things are, and can't be blamed for being suspicious of
Philadelphia Pennsylvania has been staring hard into the
face of essential tax reform. Unhappily, it's been doing so since at least the
late 1980s. The newest twist was last
spring's budget process, wherein new values meant to establish meaningful tax
rates were delayed.
The legislative body of Philadelphia was split into many
groups with different concerns.
Some Council members understood fully that their
constituents had been getting away with paying almost nothing in property taxes
Strawberry Mansions Forever?
Since the early 1990s, the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors has endorsed and advocated for land value tax in Philadelphia to both boost capital and property markets. After all, brokers make their earnings on a living - not a moribund - market.
The City of Philadelphia has had issues with moving into the new century in many ways, but city leaders have been proactive in creating a Philadelphia Master Plan calledPhiladelphia 2035
to replace the outdated and shredded plans datingfrom 1960
expanding on Edmund Bacon'sambitious vision
The new plan is a complex one, with visioning of a green and livable city, right-sized for the future, and also with an eye to economics. Taking cues from the Tax Reform Commission's work in the early 2000s, UrbanTools is pleased to see
Philadelphia Pennsylvania like most cities, counties and states have had to deal with tight budgets for nearly half a decade. For many reasons, not least of which are legacy expenses, revenue requirements will be increasing even as economies at the local and regional level still react sluggishly as the great recession of 2008 begins its ebb tide.
A complicating factor in Philadelphia's fiscal struggle is the reality that it's tax system is nearly unique in United States as the