Philly tax delinquents cost city, neighbors
By The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013, 9:45 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — Tax-delinquent properties in the city of Philadelphia have crippled the tax base, eroded the equity of thousands of homeowners and starved city government and school district of badly needed funds, a Philadelphia newspaper said.
A yearlong Inquirer/PlanPhilly investigation of the tax enforcement system found that delinquency depresses the overall property tax base by at least $9.5 billion, almost 10 percent of Philadelphia's $98.5 billion in taxable real estate, the newspaper said.
The delinquent properties lower the worth of neighboring homes by an average of 22.8 percent, and few neighborhoods are untouched.
Eliminating such delinquencies could increase the tax base by almost $300 million a year, the paper said.
While some of the properties are owned by low-income homeowners unable to pay their bills, at least 59 percent of all delinquent real estate in Philadelphia is owned by landlords, speculators and investors who don't live on-site, the paper said.
Other large U.S. cities, on average, collect 95 percent of what they are owed in property taxes in the same year they are due, and the average collection rate climbs to 99 percent in later years with enforcement measures that can include auctioning properties, the paper said.
Philadelphia' collection rate has come in well below those rates, averaging 85.6 percent annually since Mayor Michael Nutter took office, 10 points below the average rate of the 20 largest cities over the same period.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Wuerl tells faithful all Catholics are responsible for schools
- Landmark former school in Pittsburgh’s Hill District to incubate startups
- Trial begins in Steelers stabbing
- 4-car crash near Fox Chapel snarls Route 28 traffic
- Democrats consider Pittsburgh for 2016 national convention
- Post 9/11 veterans lend skills to community leadership course
- Proposal to drill in West Deer and Frazer draws comments from both sides
- Newsmaker: Leah Pileggi
- Bethel Park man to receive degree from Pitt he earned 64 years ago
- Population expansion in Western Pennsylvania hinges on immigrants
- Garden project unites Homewood through self-sufficiency, veggies