City Council questions mayor's proposed tax rate increase

Pat Loeb
May 08, 2018 - 8:22 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — City Council gave a cool reception to the mayor's proposed tax rate increase Tuesday in its hearing on the measure. 

Council members grilled Finance Director Rob Dubow about whether officials had considered alternatives to a tax increase. 

Councilwoman Helen Gym suggested peeling back the tax abatement might be preferable. 

But Councilman Allan Domb, annoyed at a missing $33 million in a city account, said he wouldn't vote for a tax increase until all accounts are reconciled. 

RELATED: City officials lost track of $33 million

Council President Darrell Clarke argued the city should do more to squeeze Harrisburg for the funding the state Constitution says it should provide. 

Dubow told Clarke he understood the resistance.

"This is a really hard choice," said Dubrow. "We think investing in the schools is worth it."

"So do we," added Clarke.

"We understand this is really hard. We're not trying to imply at all that we think this is easy or there's not pain with it," continued Dubrow.

Clarke said it's harder to ask taxpayers for a rate increase because many already have had their taxes raised by higher assessments. 

In fact, council plans to audit the Office of Property Assessment over some wild swings in assessed values.

RELATED: Official says this year's tax assessments have been 'whackadoo'