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Philly extends 10-year tax abatement for the rich and calls it an anti-poverty program

The mayor and City Council say they have a plan to reduce poverty in Philadelphia, and maybe that’s true — if the plan is to force the poor out of the neighborhoods by spending $400 million to boost gentrification.

Perhaps if the plan was to give the money directly to the poor, I’d believe it was about ending poverty. But since it’s about continuing tax breaks to developers, jobs to the building trades, and placing a construction tax on everyone except those who can most afford to pay it — I think it’s a scam.

I hope I’m wrong, but if this reduces poverty, it will be because the giveaways in the so-called Neighborhood Preservation Initiative helped to force poor people out of the city.

The deal is predicated on delaying the plan to get rid of the 10-year tax abatement, a tax break that allows whiter, richer people to move into newly constructed houses while paying only a fraction of the property taxes they would normally owe. About 55% of property taxes are earmarked for the School District, but our city has decided that giving away money to well-heeled new residents matters more than funding schools where nearly 90% of students are Black and brown.

Click here to read the entire column on Philly.com

Photo: Philadelphia from Glenwood Green Acres by Tony Fischer. Used under Creative Commons license.

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