City Councilman At-Large W. Wilson Goode, Jr., who has championed the modification of the 10-year tax abatement program over the last year, introduced new legislation that would require the School Reform Commission to approve the continuation of the abatement of school district tax revenue by June 30, 2014.
The new law would be simple. It authorizes the School Reform Commission to determine whether certain tax exemptions from School District of Philadelphia real estate taxes shall continue, consistent with State law.
State law provides for tax exemptions for certain improvements to, and new construction of, property. The law has separate articles dealing, respectively, with improvements and new construction. In both articles, the law authorizes “each local taxing authority” to provide for the tax exemptions “by ordinance or resolution”. The law defines “local taxing authority” as “a county, city… or school district having authority to levy real property taxes”.
Councilman Goode said, “In light of the statute, which treats each taxing authority separately, and the extraordinary fiscal crisis facing the School District, the School Reform Commission (SRC) should have the opportunity and responsibility to terminate – or explicitly authorize – each of the existing tax exemptions from School District real estate taxes.
The SRC should address the tax abatement similarly to other tax exemptions such as tax increment financing projects and Keystone Opportunity Zones. ”