Philadelphia’s City Council unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance that would introduce new reporting requirements for a string of controversial city tax incentive programs.
Council member Allan Domb had initially co-sponsored the legislation last year.
“The goal for me here is to examine and analyze our investments with the overall goal of increasing our tax base,” Domb said during today's session.
He reiterated that the resolution was inspired by a Pew report last year on some $200 million in tax breaks shelled out by the city annually – an amount that has grown much faster than the local tax base.
Most of the benefits come from the city’s 10-year property tax abatement on new construction or tax-reduced “Keystone Opportunity Zones.” But the report concluded that the practical benefits of this foregone revenue have been hard to quantify.
Enter Domb’s bill, which was co-sponsored by Councilman Bill Greenlee and Council President Darrell Clarke.
The legislation requires Director of Finance Rob Dubow or a mayoral designee to collect and break down aggregate data on “all types of tax exemption, abatement, credit or other benefits allowed against city tax liability.” An annual report would be delivered to council, which Domb has said would provide at least some measure of the tax incentive's efficacy.
In other business, Council member David Oh, perhaps rebounding from his resolution honoring a “Porngate” participant on International Woman’s Day, passed a resolution designating a special “Kevin Hart Day” in June to honor of the local comedian-turned-Hollywood star.