Acting like political stickup artists, members of Philadelphia's Board of Revision of Taxes are getting a bigger paycheck out of the city by threatening to derail hard-won tax reforms. City Council unanimously granted the raise last week, which would give BRT members nearly twice the city's median household income for part-time work.
And it's not as if these people are starving. Some tax board members also collect fat government pensions.
The board got its way with a work slowdown at a critical juncture in the tax reform process, threatening the city and schools' ability to provide services.
After the city changed its corrupt assessment system to base taxes on actual property values, taxpayers filed an unprecedented 23,611 appeals. The flood was expected because the system raised values, and ultimately taxes, on homes in up-and-coming neighborhoods like Northern Liberties and Graduate Hospital. The reform seeks to bring fairness to property assessments, ending an era in which two identical houses right next to each other could have vastly different tax bills.