Philadelphia budget still not complete

A budget-related bill moved out of committee late Tuesday afternoon in Philadelphia City Council, but a complete budget deal has not been worked out.

Councilman Jim Kenney’s measure to help longtime residents in gentrified neighborhoods deal with an expected major tax property increase was the only bill approved Tuesday by Council’s Committee of the Whole.

City Finance Director Rob Dubow says the total worth of all homes and businesses is probably less than expected, given a new consultant’s estimate.

“Council hired Econsult, we’ve been working with them and we’ve agreed with them that $80 billion is not an unreasonable number to work with,” Dubow said.

Councilman Wilson Goode says given that new bottom line number, City Council can estimate how many fewer property owners will see larger tax bills if the city creates a homestead exemption.

“With a $15,000 homestead exemption, the administration suggested 60,000 less people’s bills will go up. With a $30,000 exemption, 100,000 less people’s bills will go up,” Goode said. “With a $40,000 exemption, even less bills will go up.”

How big to make that exemption is one of the undecided issues.

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