Philly Councilman wants more aggressive pursuit of tax deadbeats

Listen
 Councilman Mark Squilla says the city should either sell off overdue tax bills or hire more collection agencies (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Councilman Mark Squilla says the city should either sell off overdue tax bills or hire more collection agencies (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A Philadelphia City Councilman wants to find out why the city has $1 billion in uncollected taxes.  

Councilman Mark Squilla says the city should either sell off overdue tax bills or hire more collection agencies to turn up the heat on deadbeats.

“Council gave the authority to the administration to be able to look at other avenues to be able to collect delinquent taxes,” Squilla said.  “We want to find out what they have done to this point and or if we can bring people to help them and give them different ways to go out and collect delinquent taxes especially since we have so much out there.”

Squilla says with Philly’s schools in a financial crisis, the city absolutely needs to collect every dollar owed.

“Maybe put out an [request for proposal] for third party collection, sell some of our debt and therefore get the money up front and let them collect or partner with some third party debt collectors and get a percentage of the debt that they collect,” he said.

Overdue tax bills total a billion dollars in Philadelphia, but just how much of that is collectable has been debated for years.

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

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.