April 20, 2015 |
The developers for the planned revamp of the Gallery mall could not raise enough money to finish the project without a tax break that must be cleared by City Council, a city adviser on the deal said. The big reason is deferred maintenance by the city's redevelopment agency, the Gallery's owner. Catching up would wreck a private investor's returns, said John Grady, president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. So gallery operator Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and mall developer Macerich Co. are asking the city to let them keep $127.5 million in taxes over 20 years.
April 17, 2015 |
More than half the suburban real estate agents involved in Philadelphia transactions during the four years ended June 30, 2014, did not comply with license and tax requirements, according to a survey by the Philadelphia Office of the Controller. Of the 389 agents surveyed, 108 responded, and 56 of them admitted that they did not have a commercial activity license or a business income and receipts tax account number. Those agents accounted for $56 million during the period under study, which means the city missed out on $380,000 in taxes from those sales.
April 17, 2015
DESPITE the number of exemplary schools in this city, far too many Philadelphia youth are still attending low-achieving schools. For that reason I am a proud board member of Sky Community Partners. SCP is an independently audited 501(c)(3) organization that supports expanding educational opportunities and health and wellness in underresourced communities. SCP enthusiastically supports the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit and Education Improvement Tax Credit programs. These programs allow businesses to divert a portion of their tax liability from the state to fund scholarships for students in Pennsylvania.
April 17, 2015 |
IF YOU ARE a suburban real-estate agent doing tax-free business in Philadelphia, City Controller Alan Butkovitz is onto you. So pay up, buddy . . . or not. Apparently, the city's enforcement is kind of shabby. Butkovitz yesterday released a random review of suburban real- estate agents that found more than half didn't have a city business license or tax account. The noncompliant agents from Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties cost the city an estimated $380,000 in business taxes between 2010 and 2014, the review found.
April 16, 2015
MENTION the phrase social-welfare programs to a conservative and he winces in pain. To him, these billions paid for health care, food stamps, child-care support and other such programs do nothing but promote laziness and dependency on government handouts. Every Republican budget proposal in the last eight years has combined steep cuts in safety-net programs with tax breaks for the wealthy. But there's another way to look at these safety-net programs that the Republicans hate. What they really do is subsidize businesses that help their bottom lines by paying low wages to their workers.
April 14, 2015 |
If you want conflict-free investment ideas, sign up for BetterInvesting's Spring Investor Day, set for April 25. (By conflict-free, we mean no one will be "conflicted" - that is, getting paid to give advice or sell any investing products.) Spring Investor Day is an all-day seminar (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), and 20 bucks gets you stock-research sessions, questions and answers with the Philadelphia Area Chapter of BetterInvesting, and lunch. You don't have to be a member to attend. A national club of self-taught investors, BetterInvesting has a website ( www.betterinvesting.org )
April 11, 2015 |
Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke launched his first official strike against Mayor Nutter's proposed 9.3 percent property tax increase by introducing his own plan for a new school-funding stream. Clarke introduced a bill Thursday that would authorize the city to sell liens on commercial properties and use the revenue for schools. The Council president was vague in how much money his proposal was expected to bring. A news release sent by his staff said that "millions of dollars in new revenue from selling commercial liens could be sent to the School District of Philadelphia annually.
April 9, 2015 |
A five-year pilot program in Gloucester County that shifted the job of property-tax assessments from municipalities to a county office - an approach first met with some skepticism - is being hailed as a successful "tax-assessment reform" worthy of replication. The creation of the county Assessor's Office has collectively saved the county's 24 towns millions of dollars, according to a recent county report. But whether the county-based assessment office - new to New Jersey, though standard in dozens of other states, including Pennsylvania - will be a model for other counties isn't clear.
April 8, 2015 |
The trouble with Gov. Wolf's natural-gas tax is that it wasn't imposed five years ago. Thanks to the Rendell administration's halfhearted support for a tax and the Corbett administration's misguided opposition, Harrisburg slumbered - and schools and other services suffered - while the Marcellus Shale boomed. It's Wolf's misfortune to be attempting to address this failure in the midst of a gas glut. Given that the regional natural-gas price has plummeted by more than half over the past year, legislators and others have rightly questioned whether the governor's projected $1 billion a year in revenue from the levy is realistic.
April 4, 2015
ISSUE | TAX HIKES Council incumbents, stand ground now I am appalled that City Council incumbents running for reelection are not acting on the city budget - especially its proposed 9.34 percent property tax increase - until after the May primary ("Council a no-go on tax boost," April 1). Haven't we given the schools an extra $200 million for the past several years? What are they doing with the money? If they cared about education, they would make use of the stored books and other equipment just going to waste.