June 13, 2013 |
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.
February 10, 2011
SMART GENERALS avoid battles they can't win. In the second Punic War, when Roman Consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus took on Hannibal in 216 B.C., almost 80 percent of the entire Roman army left the field in shrouds or in chains. When the Spanish sent their Armada against the English in 1588, more than half the ships and troops went to the bottom. Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, and Hitler's re-creation of the folly in 1941, ended in disaster. A smart general doesn't pick fights he can't win, and I don't believe City Council Majority Leader Marian Tasco can be defeated in November when she runs for her Lucky Seventh term on Council.
November 16, 2014 |
An exasperated Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission signaled there may be serious repercussions as a consequence of City Council's failure to consider a proposed $1.86 billion privatization of Philadelphia Gas Works. Two PUC members suggested the commission, the state body responsible for setting rates, could force the city to give up the $18 million annual fee it now receives from PGW and spend the money instead on speeding up gas-main replacement. PUC Commissioner James H. Cawley also suggested the legislature should consider removing City Council and its gas agency from any regulatory oversight of the municipal utility, eliminating a vexing jurisdictional overlap.
January 29, 2015
ISSUE | LENDING Legacy disappointed some city borrowers In 2001, as a manager at a mortgage company that made home improvement loans in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, I was affected by Philadelphia's new predatory-lending law, which retiring City Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco considers part of her legacy ("Tasco looks back on a long Council career," Jan. 19). Because this law required that low rates be charged to all borrowers regardless of credit qualifications, many less-qualified borrowers in the city no longer qualified for the loans that they needed to fix leaking roofs or broken heaters.
November 14, 2014 |
Eight months after UIL Holdings Corp. signed an agreement to buy Philadelphia Gas Works for $1.86 billion, it finally got a hearing Thursday night before City Council. It lasted about 10 minutes. At the end of nearly six hours of testimony about future options for PGW since City Council has blocked consideration of a sale, Alex V. DeBoissiere, UIL senior vice president, was granted an opportunity to speak. It was the first time a UIL official has had a chance to speak at a Council hearing since Mayor Nutter chose the Connecticut company to buy PGW. Council members told DeBoissiere they believed that the sale agreement could not be amended _ that the Nutter administration had given them a take-it-or-leave-it deal.
May 28, 2014
Suffer the children As the parent of a kindergartner in the Philadelphia schools, my message to elected leaders is straightforward: You cannot continue to do nothing about the situation ("Inexplicable behavior," May 25). At my son's school, McCall Elementary, a nurse was rehired after money was raised by parents, and politicking, and who knows what else. But she also serves as: late-desk check-in, lunch aide, recess aide, guidance counselor, and volunteer coordinator. In April, they took away the security guard, so the nurse has to do all that he did, too: fire drills, emergencies, visitor security.
February 28, 2011
There's an unseemly rush by the city Board of Ethics - with ample prodding from City Council - to get new rules in place that would free city workers from the decades-old ban on political activity. No matter what the timing, it's a bad idea that risks even more politics in the day-to-day operations of City Hall. With his passion for ridding the city of its pay-to-play political culture, Mayor Nutter should be in the forefront opposing such a backward step. With no credible opposition to his own reelection, it's even more troubling that the mayor is just going along.
April 11, 2015 |
State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams wanted to make one thing clear: The eight politicians he had gathered outside on a gusty, drizzly Thursday were not there because of James F. Kenney. Williams, a Democrat running for mayor, insisted he was not reacting to the news Monday that fellow candidate Kenney had been endorsed by a group of prominent African American elected officials and ward leaders known as the Northwest Coalition. Kenney, who resigned from City Council in January to run in the May 19 Democratic primary election for mayor, is white.
January 8, 2014 |
City Council wants to hire a consultant to explore whether there is a "higher and better use" for the Philadelphia Gas Works than privatizing it. Council last week issued a request for proposals from experts to analyze potential uses for PGW in light of new discoveries of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation. The deadline for the proposals is Jan. 29. The consultant specifically would look at whether the city could get more use out of its liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) plant in Port Richmond, where gas is stored in liquid form for use on peak winter days.
May 22, 1991 |
Two City Council members apparently have been dumped, a third was barely hanging on and another got a scare last night in the Democratic primary. Councilman-at-large Francis Rafferty was running eighth and apparently out of the picture for five nominations. Councilman David Cohen led for the final nomination by a little more than 500 votes with 90 percent of the vote counted. In the 4th Council District, newcomer Michael Nutter, who was backed by U.S. Rep. William H. Gray III, appeared to have knocked off incumbent Councilwoman Ann Land.