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Abatements

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NEWS
April 4, 1991 | By Ross Kerber, Special to The Inquirer
Washington Township Council tonight is expected to vote on a plan that may end a long, embarrassing dispute over the township's tax abatement ordinance. The compromise, proposed by Councilman John Rogale, would likely set minimum requirements for the size of an operation or the number of employees or both. Proponents hope the plan will strengthen an ordinance adopted in October 1989 that was intended to attract new noncommercial businesses to the town. The ordinance allows the township to reduce taxes on new businesses for the first five years.
NEWS
December 15, 2005 | By Michael Currie Schaffer INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
With panoramic river views, satin chrome fixtures, and access to a shimmering infinity pool, the Marina View Towers comes with amenities that make many residents drool. But an upper-floor unit that sells for $1.1 million also comes with something that makes many Philadelphians irate: a tax break worth $147,000 over 10 years. The break comes courtesy of an eight-year-old city law that lets owners of new and rehabbed properties pay taxes for a decade at the same rate the property fetched before being converted from a vacant lot or an industrial shell.
NEWS
March 30, 2009
RE "Top dollar in city real estate" on the multi-million-dollar condos being sold at Liberty Place: This should be the poster child for the repeal of the city's real-estate tax abatement. Homeowners who will be facing a 19 percent increase in property taxes proposed for 2010 are subsidizing these and other condos. City taxpayers are giving a tax-free ride for luxury residences that include a "four bedroom residence, including a master bedroom with steam shower and Jacuzzi tub, two powder rooms, a billiard room with a wet bar, and 'ample entertainment space' complete with fireplace and wet bar, custom kitchen and hand-finished walnut flooring.
NEWS
September 21, 2005 | By John Sullivan INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
When legislators voted to allow gambling companies to open casinos in Pennsylvania, they justified the move by saying that heavy taxes on the slots operators would bring in as much $1 billion in revenue. But as the state is tallying up what it will take off the top, it is handing millions of dollars back to the wealthy gambling corporations because some of the proposed slots-parlor sites are in special tax-abatement zones. The savings to companies that build in the zones will be substantial because owners will be exempt from paying property, payroll, sales and other business taxes - money that would normally go the state and local municipalities.
NEWS
February 27, 1996 | by Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
Wealthy Bucks County businessman Frederick L. DeRatto was sentenced yesterday to 33 months in prison for conspiring to swindle people who sought careers in tax abatement services. U.S. District Judge John P. Fullam also ordered DeRatto to make restitution of $1,859,875, with $500,000 due in 90 days. DeRatto, 56, president of Allied Electronics, Bristol, will remain free pending appeal. Defense attorneys Thomas Bergstrom and Joel Slomsky had argued for leniency, contending that De-Ratto was no more than a pawn in a scheme that others ran, a passive investor.
NEWS
December 14, 2008 | By Patrick Kerkstra INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Former Phillies slugger Pat Burrell might not fit the profile of a guy who needs a tax break, but he gets an enormous one nonetheless: a $37,284 discount on the $42,628 annual property-tax bill for his $2.6 million condo in Center City. Though the free-agent left fielder has paid a king's ransom in other city taxes, he is one of more than 8,000 Philadelphia real estate owners who are beneficiaries of the city's property-tax abatement program. The most generous of its kind in the nation, it offers 10 years of lowered real estate levies on buildings that are renovated or newly constructed.
NEWS
February 27, 2008
MAYBE WE WERE only imagining the sound of champagne corks popping at PGW headquarters yesterday, after the honor of "most screwed-up municipally owned utility" officially passed from the gas company to the Water Department . . . or at least the division that collects its bills. Yesterday, City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a report on a review of delinquent water and sewer accounts, and it made us almost forget about the past billing-system problems at PGW. Based on its review of the Water Department's billing system in place last year, the controller's office found $161 million in uncollected bills, accounts allowed to linger for 15 years before water was shut off, questionable abatements of huge water bills - one for $276,000 - and federal and state offices that have let $1.5 million in water bills pile up for years.
NEWS
February 9, 1989 | By Joseph Grace, Daily News Staff Writer
The city is giving too many tax breaks to Center City developers and not enough to low-income neighborhoods, the city's commerce director said yesterday. "We've been giving away too much tax abatement," city Commerce Director William Hankowsky told Mayor Goode's Tax Policy and Budget Advisory Committee, the blue-ribbon panel considering Goode's proposed $70 million tax increase. Hankowsky said the city was losing $50 million a year in uncollected tax revenues because of abatements granted to 5,700 properties.
NEWS
December 20, 2005 | MARK ALAN HUGHES
MAYOR STREET is quite an obstacle to progress. Here we are, ready to move on from business tax reform to improving property tax abatements. But the lame duck threatens to veto tax cuts hammered out last week. Miserable it is to be a Street duckling on Council as he lets you roast on the spit of public opinion. Letting others burn is the defining behavior of lame ducks. Mayor Duck frets that passing a tax bill before his budget address is "terrible, terrible public policy," reported the Daily News.
NEWS
September 27, 1991 | By Ross Kerber, Special to The Inquirer
The Washington Township Council last night took the first step toward abolishing the township's controversial tax-abatement program by voting, 5-0, to do away with it. "There's no future to this plan anymore," said Councilman Robert Berry in one of the few comments on the vote. Berry said that any request for tax abatements in the future would be perceived as posing a conflict of interest for council members. Mayor Gerald Luongo, who has championed the program as a way to stimulate economic development and attract good-paying jobs, did not try to defend the program last night.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 20, 2015
THE NEWS about Center City and environs continues to be good. And since 55 percent of all the jobs in Philadelphia are located in the downtown area and University City, what's good for Center City tends to be good for the city generally. A new report from the Center City District confirms that new housing continues to grow steadily. Last year, the CCD said, 1,983 new units were brought to market - of which 442 were single-family homes. The prognosis for continued growth over the next five years looks good, as more younger people move into the city or decide to buy homes.
NEWS
August 25, 2014 | By Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Columnist
For decades, Gloucester Township has yearned to earn a place on the regional retailing map. But the construction of an upscale discount shopping complex in the Blackwood section is provoking mixed emotions. Gloucester Premium Outlets "will be the largest economic development project in the history of our community," says Mayor David Mayer, who describes the center as "a $40 million [property tax] ratable, when all is said and done. " The mayor's choice of words is important. While he expects the township ultimately will collect $1.4 million annually, the outlets between Route 42 and the Black Horse Pike will not pay property taxes in full for five years.
NEWS
May 16, 2014 | BY SEAN COLLINS WALSH, Daily News Staff Writer walshSE@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
COUNCILMAN W. Wilson Goode Jr. hounded city Finance Director Rob Dubow yesterday over the administration's resistance to limiting the 10-year property-tax abatement in order to send more money to the beleaguered School District of Philadelphia. "Maybe you should change your name from Rob Dubow to 'Rob Millions From the Schools,' " Goode said in a confrontational but brief Council hearing. Afterward, Dubow dismissed Goode's claim, saying school funding is the No. 1 priority for he and Mayor Nutter.
NEWS
April 10, 2014 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
CAMDEN In a surprising reversal, City Council on Tuesday night rejected an ordinance passed a year ago to grant a 20-year tax abatement to the owner of an affordable-housing complex. Council first passed the ordinance in April 2013 to give Roizman Development a 20-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement for his Broadway Townhouses complex. A Superior Court judge ruled last month that the vote violated the state's open public meeting law because the Camden Courier-Post was not properly notified about the special meeting, held at noon on a Friday.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA The sketches were drawn, and the vision of a 47-story, $210 million hotel and condominium in Center City was in place. The developer, Carl Dranoff, said financing would be 95 percent private - the only exception being a block of money from the state. He was also counting on the city's 10-year abatement of property taxes. Then the author of a proposal to slash that abatement warned that he shouldn't count on it. "If they included abatements within their [financial]
NEWS
October 14, 2013
Philadelphia should finish the job it started with the Actual Value Initiative by taking a comprehensive look at its overall tax structure. But it should avoid damaging its property-tax abatement program under a proposal by Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. Goode is right to tie the public schools' perennial request for alms to the revenue the city collects. But targeting the abatement program outside the context of comprehensive tax reform is shortsighted - albeit understandable, given how reluctant politicians are to even say the word taxes.
NEWS
October 2, 2013 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Five City Council members asked the Nutter administration Monday to examine the consequences of a bill that would alter the 10-year tax abatement on new construction. This is the first time members have requested a "fiscal impact statement" from the administration since passing a law this spring giving them the authority to seek such an analysis on most bills. Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. has been working for more than a year to change the 10-year tax abatement, which allows the owners of new homes to pay little in property taxes for a decade.
NEWS
September 21, 2013 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
A week after saying he would continue calling for a vote on his bill to cap Philadelphia's 10-year tax abatement on residential construction, City Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. on Thursday withdrew that bill in favor of a second proposal to modify the tax incentive program. The second bill, introduced last week, would eliminate the abatement on the 55 percent of property taxes that go to the School District of Philadelphia. For example, the owner of a new home with $1,000 abated from his bill would no longer get that free ride for 10 years.
NEWS
June 13, 2013 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would cap the 10-year tax abatement on new residential construction at $500,000 of value. The cap would go into effect in July 2015. The committee took a rare roll-call vote on the divisive issue, and the bill passed by 9-7, with Marian B. Tasco absent. The bill, sponsored by W. Wilson Goode Jr., could receive final approval on June 20. During testimony on the bill, Goode and Symphony House developer Carl Dranoff had several testy exchanges on the merits of the current tax abatement, which does not have a cap. The abatement has been credited with sparking a building boom - mostly in Center City and surrounding neighborhoods - but has been derided as an unnecessary tax credit to rich homeowners.
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