Philadelphia Considers Construction Tax to Pay for Affordable Housing Needs

Another example of a city looking for revenue to support affordable housing projects in response to the growing cost of housing.
June 14, 2018, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Philadelphia’s City Council is weighing a proposed 1% tax on construction to raise millions of dollars for affordable-housing programs," reports Scott Calvert.

The construction tax would apply to most residential, commercial and industrial projects and would be calculated based on costs listed on building permits. Money raised would be used to give qualifying home buyers as much as $10,000 for down payments and closing costs. Both private and nonprofit developers also would be able to access funds for affordable-housing projects.

The proposed tax has inspired plenty of political debate, according to the article, pitting City Council president Darrell Clarke against Mayor Jim Kenney. Mayor Kenney has warned that "the levy would hurt the city’s competitiveness as it vies to land Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters," reports Calvert. The tax has the support of the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia and many affordable housing groups. Opponents include the local Chamber of Commerce and the building trades union.

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Published on Monday, June 11, 2018 in The Wall Street Journal
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