Controller's Report Shows Tax Abatement Gives Most Benefits To Certain Zip Codes, High End Properties

Pat Loeb
April 22, 2018 - 2:15 am
Luxury Apartment

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Philadelphia's City Controller has released an analysis of the ten-year tax abatement program. It finds the benefits have been concentrated on a relatively small pool of properties in a limited geographic area.

Controller Rebecca Rhynhart says just 6 percent of neighborhoods -- all in greater Center City -- get nearly 60 percent of the abatements. Property worth more than $700,000 -- while only 7 percent of those getting abatements get 51 percent of the benefits.

"So the perception that many people have that the benefit is going to high-income property owners is somewhat accurate," Rhynhart said.

Rhynhart makes no recommendations, but reviews six scenarios from eliminating the abatement altogether to capping it or eliminating it in the most profitable zip codes.

"To make sure the abatement going forward is fair, while spurring development," she said.

Abatements have been credited with the city's building boom but are unpopular among many taxpayers. Since the mayor's request for a real estate tax increase, they've come under more scrutiny. 

The Finance Department is also doing an analysis.