City Council panel moves bill to evaluate tax incentives in Philly

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 Philadelphia Council members talk discuss the best way of evaluating tax incentives the city offers. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Council members talk discuss the best way of evaluating tax incentives the city offers. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Just what tax credits Philadelphia uses would be the subject of a report a city lawmaker wants to commission. 

The city doesn’t know for sure what credits are being used and how often, said Councilman Allan Domb Tuesday.

“There’s 14 tax incentives and seven industry exemptions,” he said. “I believe there are 20 states in the United States that have this type of legislation and two cities, which are New York and Washington, D.C., that currently do this.”

Philadelphia’s high taxes are offset by the incentives, which have a combined value of more than $200 million a year, said Thomas Ginsberg of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Our research found that successful tax expenditures tend to have well-designed laws behind them,” Ginsberg said. “They have requirements for the ongoing evaluation of their effectiveness and goals — and transparency about their purpose and use.”

Domb’s bill now goes on to the full City Council for its consideration.

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