Residential Development Tax to Fund Affordable Housing Programs

Philadelphia's city council passed the city's first-ever residential development impact tax, a plan that could boost the city budget by $9 million a year.

December 18, 2020, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Rittenhouse Square

Gregory Cohen / Shutterstock

With a new 1% tax on residential development in Philadelphia, city leaders are moving to fund a $400 million bond package that supports building more affordable housing. The tax will be levied on new construction and is accompanied by a 10% reduction in commercial abatement. The reforms, part of a package known as the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, will fund a variety of community development and affordable housing programs. In a move seen by many as appeasing developers, the city council also voted to push back the commercial abatement reduction by a year.

Building industry groups are split on the new tax. While some admit that the city needs revenue for affordable housing, others maintain that any new taxes threaten the economic development and jobs created by construction. Philadelphia's director of finance, Rob Dubow, argues that the tax could raise $15 million in its first two years, a much-needed injection of cash into the city's coffers. The commercial abatement reduction is projected to eventually raise $5-7 million per year.

With a poverty rate of 25%, the highest of any large U.S. city, Philadelphia desperately needs affordable housing and community development programs that address inequities and support low-income residents.

Thursday, December 10, 2020 in WHYY

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.