Urban Fold

Philadelphia Tackles Gentrification

As Philadelphia seeks to shift the basis of its property tax system, Catherine Lucey and Jan Ransom report on legislation to be introduced by two City Councilmen that could provide property tax relief to long-time residents of gentrifying areas.

A plan to shift Philadelphia to a property tax system based on market values, known as the Actual Value Initiative (AVI), could have devastating effects on long-time residents of areas of the city that are now booming. According to Lucey and Ransom, legislation that will be introduced next week by Councilmen Jim Kenney and Mark Squilla seeks to protect those most at risk of the effects of gentrification.

"Under Kenney and Squilla's proposal, owner-occupiers who have been in their homes for a decade or more could be forgiven part of their tax bill. Their legislation caps taxation at three times the market value assigned the house when you bought it. So if you bought a house 20 years ago that the city said was worth $40,000, under AVI you could be taxed at a valuation of no more than $120,000, even if your house is now valued at $400,000. The tax forgiveness would last until you sold the house or the title changed hands."

"Kenney said about 30,000 residents could qualify for relief, in neighborhoods that include Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Queen Village and Graduate Hospital."

Full Story: Some in gentrified Philadelphia neighborhoods could get tax relief


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