Center City District CEO: Philly’s tax policy must change

    For every 100 residents, Philadelphia offers only 42 jobs.

    Center City District CEO Paul Levy said he knows how to change that. He laid out his ambitious plan at a tax-themed panel discussion co-hosted by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Temple University.

    Levy wants to gradually raise taxes on land, since it can’t pick up and move like a company. At the same time, he said, decrease taxes on wages and businesses.

    “New York has experienced dynamic job growth. Boston has experienced dynamic job growth,” Levy said. “We tax what moves, and it moves. Other cities tax what’s fixed: land and improvements. They have much more dynamic job growth.”

    Philadelphia Councilman David Oh suggested Levy’s plan would not work. 

    “It has to be more finely tuned,” he said. “You can’t simply create a tax structure that moves people out of the homes that they live in.”

    State Rep. John Taylor, R-Philadelphia, said he agrees with Levy’s idea of slowly changing the city’s tax burden. But he argued that a bigger tax overhaul must wait until the city gets used to its brand-new property tax assessments.

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