Letters

Posted: April 24, 2006

New appraisals promote equity

Critics of the proposed full-value appraisal project are entitled to voice their opinion, but they should stick to the facts about the plan to accurately value residential and commercial property in Philadelphia ("City reassessment unwise," March 13.).

For 15 years, the city's property tax rates have not changed, and Philadelphia property owners have come to view any attempt to set accurate property values as a "back door" tax increase. But that's not what "full value" means.

Here's what it means: the Board of Revision of Taxes will make it easier for taxpayers to understand what their properties are worth. Accurate property values are the basis for an equitable tax system. It is not an "ill-conceived" notion. It is required by state law. If we don't do it, chances are the courts will.

But full value is only about setting actual property values. It doesn't automatically mean increased property taxes. The tax rate, set by the mayor and City Council, governs property taxes, and the tax rate cannot be accurately set until we know the actual worth of the city's properties. Even if values climb, taxes for many property owners may decrease or remain largely unchanged. How? By lowering the tax rate, taxes may be lower even as values increase.

At a time when values are skyrocketing, a fair and accurate system for setting property values is more critical than ever. That's not just sound tax policy; it's common sense.

The Board of Revision of Taxes has pledged that it will not implement the full-value project until protections have been enacted to prevent sharp spikes in property taxes for city residents and business owners. These tax relief measures are embodied in current legislation proposed in City Council and the state legislature.

Full value makes sense. It's good for taxpayers and the city, and most important, it is the law.

David B. Glancey

Chairman

Board of Revision of Taxes

Philadelphia

Union vote for Santorum

Inquirer articles have made it sound like all members of the AFL-CIO are united behind Bob Casey. That is not the case. Like myself, multiple members of the Philadelphia Building and Trades Council will support U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) this November. The reason is simple: He delivers for us.

Santorum has been out front on the issue of dredging our port, which will create hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs. He has been fighting for building projects, such as the new Internal Revenue Service center at the old 30th Street Post Office. The project alone will create thousands of jobs, not only for labor but for the people moving into the new office building we are going to construct.

My point is that it doesn't make a lot of sense to change horses when we have a thoroughbred racing for us. I'm not saying Bob Casey isn't a nice guy, however we need people who know how to deliver. That is Rick Santorum.

Alex Musika

Member, Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 692

Yardley

Don't smoke, still party

In the final months of my college career, I have thrown the cigarette box away after five years as a smoker.

As a typical 22-year-old college student, my social life is very important in the dwindling weeks of my college career. Before I became a nonsmoker, I would smoke the most when I went out to a bar. The most I've smoked there was about a pack and a half in 3 to 5 hours. Waking up the next morning, it was not the number of beers I'd had that I regretted, but the excess amount of smoke I'd inhaled.

When the thought of smoke-free bars and restaurants first came about, my mind immediately said, "No way, business will suffer tremendously." As someone studying business administration, I was only thinking about businesses' profits.

As time passed, I realized that with customers having no choice between a smoking or a nonsmoking bar, businesses would survive. Loyal customers would not stop going to their favorite social gathering place because they cannot smoke. Customers go there to socialize and have a good time, not to just light up ("Going smoke-free: Nothing to fear," April 17).

Mark Martino

King of Prussia

mark.s.martino@gmail.com

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