August 30, 2016
Philadelphia has the highest business taxes among the nation's 30 largest cities. But instead of reforming its tax structure, the city has clipped around the edges by creating the greatest number of exemptions and incentives. That mishmash is an admission that the city's tax system is broken. There is scant evidence that the 21 exemptions and incentives that the city offers are working, according to an analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Revenue losses due to the tax breaks have skyrocketed from an average of $14.9 million annually from 2001 to 2003, to $109.6 million annually from 2010 to 2012.
August 26, 2016
ISSUE | TRANSFER TAX Whether it's a levy or a fee, it's costly When I bought my home in Delaware County in 2009 and tried to deduct the transfer tax from my income tax, my accountant told me that it was not a "tax" but a "fee," and, therefore, not deductible ("Dodging taxes," Sunday). It sure felt like a tax. Being a peon, I had no choice but to pay it. It's just another thing that the "little people" have to pay - not like real-estate moguls, like a certain presidential candidate.
June 11, 2016
ISSUE | REAL ESTATE TAX Transfer levy unfair All Philadelphians should have safe, healthy, and affordable homes. It is equally important, however, that the city encourage home ownership, not create barriers to it. City Council should not take on $100 million in new debt and increase the city's real estate transfer tax to fix homes in disrepair ("Proposed transfer-tax rise assailed," June 3). Such a tax is regressive and narrowly based, and it falls disproportionately and unfairly on those who can least afford it. Low- and moderate-income families spend a greater proportion of their income on their mortgages and home purchases.
June 4, 2016 |
The region's real estate agents are pushing back on a proposed increase in the real estate transfer tax that, though only a fraction of a percent, they say would stymie home sales. Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors president Paul Garvey said at a City Council hearing Thursday that the increase targets seniors looking to downsize and millennials looking to put down roots. "The burden of any tax increase will be greatest on young, first-time homebuyers, a critically important demographic in terms of revitalizing the city's economic base," Garvey said.
May 14, 2016 |
City Council President Darrell L. Clarke is looking to pump $100 million into preserving Philadelphia's aging housing stock, including giving owners of deteriorating homes loans for repairs. He has proposed paying for the effort with a bond, and on Thursday introduced legislation to pay the debt service on that borrowing with a 0.1 percent increase in the real estate transfer tax. Clarke said he wanted to "expeditiously change neighborhoods. " "Not little, rehab four or five houses at a time," he said.
July 9, 2015
ISSUE | TAXES Less is more When does a tax become a "smart" tax, as Carolyn Adams proposes ("A tax on Philly house flippers," Sunday)? One of the primary forces for the revitalization of residential neighborhoods in Philadelphia in the past two decades has been the 10-year tax abatement provided to redevelopers. Because of the reduction in the tax burden, the demand for housing and subsequent appreciation of real estate have done far more to build wealth for working- and middle-class Philadelphians than any tax-and-redistribution policy.
December 20, 2012 |
POLICE COMMISSIONER Charles Ramsey has decided to fire Officer Elaine Thomas for an alleged tax scam, saying that a suspension wasn't enough. "In my mind, it was serious enough to warrant dismissal," Ramsey said Wednesday. "There were so many cases involved and this was not a one-time thing. It's not something you can say it was just an error. " Thomas, a 15-year veteran, allegedly claimed in signed court documents in six real-estate transactions that she was related by blood to people who were listed as the sellers.
December 3, 2012 |
No one could hold down Robert May. He fled Jim Crow Georgia, arriving in Philadelphia in 1935 determined to run his own business. During the next four decades, he opened several neighborhood bars and worked at his family's store, May's Market at Ridge Avenue and 25th Street. And after dying of cancer in 1978 at age 64, May mysteriously rose again, 27 years later. On Aug. 6, 2005, May supposedly signed over the deed of his two-story Strawberry Mansion rowhouse to Philadelphia Police Officer Elaine P. Thomas.
June 29, 2012 |
DEAR HARRY: In January 2011, my son "Jim" defaulted on his mortgage. His wife had not revealed to him that they were in financial trouble until it was too late. We were able to iron out all the marital issues, and I got all their finances on a current basis. He has a steady job that he's had for years, and he makes about $75,000 a year. We were then able to work out a deal with Fannie Mae for my other son, "Bill," to buy the house for a cash settlement of $257,000 (the house is worth upwards of $300,000)
April 25, 2012 |
If you want to rile a New Jersey resident, two words will do it: property taxes. Most state residents — 89 percent of the 800 registered voters surveyed in early April by the state's Realtors, according to the poll's results — maintain that property taxes are too high, but they are less united about proposals to lower them. "Property taxes continue to be a major concern, even ahead of the economy and jobs," said Joe Goode, senior vice president of American Strategies, who has been conducting the poll for the New Jersey Association of Realtors for the last five years.