Tax on vacant properties could save lives, says Philly Council president

In the wake of Wednesday’s building collapse, a bill has been introduced in Philadelphia City Council to add a tax to vacant properties. 

City Council President Darrell Clarke says he’s concerned about the number of vacant properties in Philadelphia, especially in the wake of the building collapse at 22nd and Market streets that killed six.

He has reintroduced a bill to add a tax on vacant properties to make sure they are maintained up to code.

“The non-utilization tax essentially increases the tax on a vacant property,” he said. “During the course of the vacancy, we will incrementally increase the tax as it continues to stay vacant.”

Clarke says this is not the first time he’s tried to have the tax approved.

“In this case, maybe it will take such a tragic event to get the bill adopted, and get it implemented,” Clarke said Thursday. “The reality is it positioned us to give the appropriate resources to do timely inspections and timely followup because, given our budget challenges, we have just not been able to do that.”

The bill has not been scheduled for a Council hearing.

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