Philly councilman proposes lien sales to pare planned tax hike

Philadelphia City Councilman Alan Domb (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Councilman Alan Domb (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A Philadelphia lawmaker is seeking outside help so the city can collect more tax revenue from absentee property owners and delinquent business proprietors who refuse to pay up.

City Councilman Alan Domb has proposed that the city sell tax liens on properties that are not occupied by their owners. It would then be up to investors collect the debt — and with proceeds from the sale, Domb said, the city could pare its planned tax increase.

“This legislation I propose explicitly states that all owner-occupants will be excluded from the method of collecting delinquent taxes,” he said. “It’s simple. If you own you home, you qualify for an exclusion. You are not included.”

The measure aims to target investors and out-of-town owners who have not paid their fair share of taxes.

“To the delinquent commercial property owners and investors, let me say this on behalf of the taxpaying citizens and businesses as well as our schoolchildren, we are coming for our money,” said Domb.

Domb had proposed lien sales before, but previous plans did not include an exemption for owner-occupied houses written specifically into the language of the bill. The old version went nowhere in Council.

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