Philly Controller wants crackdown on bad check writers

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 City Controller Alan Butkovitz (Nathaniel Hamilton/NewsWorks Photo)

City Controller Alan Butkovitz (Nathaniel Hamilton/NewsWorks Photo)

Philadelphia’s City Controller wants city officials to do more about thousands of people who pay the city with bad checks.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz said at a news conference today that the city of Philadelphia gets a steady stream of checks that don’t clear the bank for everything from taxes to permits and other fees.

“My office found in fiscal year 2009 through 2012, the banks returned 13,000 bad checks worth $14 million,” Butkovtiz said. “To take a closer look at these checks, we selected a random sample of 83 valued at over $200,000 and discovered that half of the checks remained uncollected.”

The Inspector General has been working on collection issues and city officials say they have collected over $200,000.

Butkovitz said that’s a good start, but “there’s no question there have been substantial systemic problems throughout the the city’s revenue collection efforts.”

“It has been a major embarrassment for this administration,” Butkovitz said. “There’s something like $400 million or $500 million in outstanding taxes that have not been collected.”

Administration officials say they’re working to revoke licenses of those who fail to cooperate with the city’s collection efforts.

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