Councilman wants to give some Philly taxpayers breathing room

A Philadelphia city councilman is trying to come up with a plan to keep residents who can’t afford their upcoming real estate tax hike in their homes.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson calls it the hardship plan. It’s designed to allow some homeowners to postpone paying anything above a 2.5 percent hike in their real estate tax.

“This is more of a type of relief that, if you’re in a predicament where your taxes rise and you don’t have any other type of financial backing to pay for your taxes, this is one of those measures that will allow you to defer your taxes,” he said Thursday. “And it will also come with a lien on your property. Our primary focus is to keep people inside their homes.”

The councilman stresses this remedy is only for those who have no other way to pay, and it will require a means test.

“Working with the department of Revenue, they will also work with us to find the area median-income guidelines to determine if you qualify,” he said.

The bill would be in addition to a homestead exemption that would also reduce the tax burden.

The lien against the property would have to be satisfied when the house is sold, Johnson said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal