Darrell Clarke’s Property Sales Plan is More Progressive Than the Nutter/Corbett Sales Tax Plan

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The Notebook and WHYY have been absolutely killing this beat, and you should read up here and here for the details on the dueling plans.

Basically the choice here is between a plan to fund schools with a highly regressive tax, and a plan to fund schools with developer money and more growth.

Should Philadelphia residents pay higher taxes on their purchases than they would if the sales tax expired as planned? Or should the city buy some empty school buildings that the district was looking to unload anyway, and then flip them to developers who want to build new homes or offices or whatever?

In the Nutter/Corbett plan, Philadelphia consumers are the ultimate payers. In the Darrell Clarke plan, developers are the ultimate payers. Clarke’s plan is clearly the more progressive one.

I hear Michael Nutter’s point about how maybe city won’t get as much money for the properties as Clarke thinks, but I think that just means they need to sell some more properties.

As I’ve been saying, it’s not like all the city-owned properties are worthless land in North Philly. They own some properties in growing neighborhoods that people actually want to build new housing in. Those parcels may be owned by different authorities, but why wouldn’t Clarke’s same two-step plan work there too? First you buy them from the authorities, then you sell them to the developers.

I’d be especially enthusiastic about the city buying up municipal surface parking lots from the Philadelphia Parking Authority and auctioning those off to developers. In my new neighborhood in Bella Vista, there’s a hideous municipal surface lot at the very nice corner of Fitzwater and S. 7th. I’m sure somebody would love to build a mixed-use building here if it wasn’t wasted on this parking lot. Maybe Darrell Clarke can buy that from PPA and auction it off to get some more money for the school district.

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

3 Responses to Darrell Clarke’s Property Sales Plan is More Progressive Than the Nutter/Corbett Sales Tax Plan

  1. Jeff Hornstein says:

    Clarke’s plan has its virtues, no doubt, as a short-term solution to a $50 million shortfall. But remember no one is talking about doing away with the 1% sales tax increase. Corbett’s plan dictates that the first $120 mil collected under the now-permanent sales tax extension goes to the SDP. Clarke would split the projected $140 mil between SDP and pension fund. Clarke’s plan helps solve two problems, Corbett’s only one.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      I’d like to start talking about doing away with the sales tax increase. Now that assessments are somewhat more accurate, we can start talking about doing a revenue-neutral swap where sales taxes get reduced, and we make up the revenue with an increase in the millage rate on unimproved land.

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