Plan for taxing rate change not sitting well with Philly Council president

Listen
A plan to change Pennsylvania's Constitution to allow a variable property tax rate is meant to encourage business development. Philadelphia Council Presidents has some reservations about the measure. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A plan to change Pennsylvania's Constitution to allow a variable property tax rate is meant to encourage business development. Philadelphia Council Presidents has some reservations about the measure. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A proposed change in the Pennsylvania Constitution isn’t exactly what some city politicians wanted.  That could be trouble for a business leader’s plan for growing jobs.

State Rep. John Taylor has proposed the change that would allow Philadelphia to charge businesses more on real estate taxes, while keeping residential tax bills stable.  The extra money would be used to cut other taxes so the city comes out even.

“The business community has asked for higher rates on property for their businesses in Philadelphia in return for dollar-for-dollar reductions in business privilege tax and wage tax,” said Taylor, R-Philadelphia.

Business leaders say those tax cuts would make Philadelphia more attractive for adding jobs.  But City Council President Darrell Clarke said Taylor’s proposal is too rigid.  

“Our position is essentially, get the constitutional amendment, but have the Constitution authorize the General Assembly to enact legislation to give the city of Philadelphia flexibility to create classes of real estate,” he said.

But without those “rigid” elements, Taylor said, the bill won’t go anywhere in Harrisburg.

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.