Sen. Stack introduces bill to collect unpaid property taxes

State Sen. Mike Stack last week held a news con­fer­ence out­side Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School to in­tro­duce a five-bill pack­age de­signed to raise money to close the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia’s budget de­fi­cit.

The pack­age — Sen­ate Bill 970 to Sen­ate Bill 974 — would give the city the power to go after $249 mil­lion in un­paid prop­erty taxes, $91.5 mil­lion in de­lin­quent busi­ness in­come and re­ceipt taxes and $47 mil­lion in late wage taxes.

If the le­gis­la­tion is ap­proved, Phil­adelphia and all Pennsylvania mu­ni­cip­al­it­ies would be able to place a li­en on any piece of prop­erty for the un­paid taxes. Those gov­ern­ments would also be able to add the cost of col­lec­tions to any li­en at­tached to a de­lin­quent prop­erty or busi­ness.

The bills are be­ing in­tro­duced at a time when the school dis­trict is try­ing to close a $300 mil­lion de­fi­cit.

“It is wrong that de­lin­quent prop­erty and busi­ness own­ers are play­ing a big part in the star­va­tion of Phil­adelphia school stu­dents and teach­ers,” Stack said. “It’s equally wrong that the city lacks the leg­al muscle to take ac­tion against the neg­li­gent people who are rob­bing our stu­dents of a qual­ity edu­ca­tion.”

Also, Phil­adelphia would be able to gar­nish the wages of de­lin­quent prop­erty and busi­ness own­ers at the same 10-pe­cent rate oth­er mu­ni­cip­al­it­ies now charge.

“This le­gis­la­tion would let those who don’t pay their taxes know that the City of Broth­erly Love has the ne­ces­sary and ap­pro­pri­ate powers to in­still some lov­ing pun­ish­ment and col­lect what is owed,” Stack said.

Jerry Jordan, pres­id­ent of the Phil­adelphia Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers, at­ten­ded the news con­fer­ence.

“This year’s pro­posed school budget elim­in­ates vi­tal ser­vices, pro­grams and ex­tra­cur­ricular activ­it­ies that are needed for a qual­ity edu­ca­tion,” he said. “We’re glad to see Sen. Stack and oth­er elec­ted of­fi­cials pro­pos­ing sus­tain­able edu­ca­tion fund­ing that will end the cur­rent prac­tice of tak­ing pro­grams away from our chil­dren.” ••

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