Mayoral candidate Butkovitz calls for revenue-neutral assessments in Philly

Mayoral candidate Alan Butkovitz says the city of Philadelphia is using its property tax assessments as a backdoor to raise money. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Mayoral candidate Alan Butkovitz says the city of Philadelphia is using its property tax assessments as a backdoor to raise money. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A candidate for Philadelphia mayor is calling citywide property reassessments nothing but an attempt to squeeze more money out of taxpayers.

Reassessments of property in the city should be tax neutral — so tax rates are adjusted to bring in the same total revenue as properties rise in value, said Democrat Alan Butkovitz.

“The real estate tax is not supposed to be used as a gentrification machine, and it’s not supposed to be used to reconfigure the population of the city,” said the former city controller who is challenging incumbent Mayor Jim Kenney in the May 21 primary.

“It should be a fair allocation of the citizen’s ability to pay for their government.”

Eileen Nisenfeld from Rhawnhurst in the Northeast joined Butkovitz for his remarks. Her real estate taxes have increased 25 percent over the past two years, she said, adding that she’s being “taxed out of the city.”

“We’ve got the wage tax, the beverage tax, and, now, the increase of my property tax,” Nisenfeld said. “The way I’ve seen it, the city has assessed my home at a quarter million dollars … and I can’t afford to buy orange juice here.”

A spokesman for the Kenney administration said if Butkovitz is proposing revenue-neutral reassessments, he should discuss the city services he would cut to make that happen.

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